The Dallas Stars hit the trade block on Monday afternoon, acquiring forward Ryan Hartman from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for forward Tyler Pitlick. It’s a low-risk move that could work out well for the Stars.
With the opening of Free Agency just one week away, the Dallas Stars got their offseason movement underway a little early.
On Monday afternoon, the Stars made a somewhat unexpected move on the trade market by sending forward Tyler Pitlick to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for forward Ryan Hartman. The deal essentially swaps two bottom-six forwards with little risk involved for either side.
But it could end up being a promising return for the Stars.
Dallas initially signed Pitlick as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2017. After missing most of the 2016-17 season with the Edmonton Oilers while rehabbing a torn ACL, the three-year contract with an AAV of $1 million looked to be a low-risk, under-the-radar signing for Dallas. Pitlick had a chance to prove himself after a shaky start to his career in Edmonton, while the Stars had potentially added a valuable piece to their depth scoring.
And while the Dallas depth scoring hit a sizable wall during the 2017-18 season, Pitlick was one of the bright spots as he contributed 14 goals, 27 points, and a +9 rating in 80 games while averaging 13:41 on the ice. In addition, he was a solid penalty killer for the team and helped balance out an otherwise shaky bottom six on offense.
But while the Dallas Stars struggled to score overall in the 2018-19 season, Pitlick struggled with them. He finished the season with eight goals, 12 points, and a -2 rating in 47 games. Three of those eight goals came in a three-game span. Part of that had to do with a wrist injury suffered on Jan. 17 against the Los Angeles Kings. The injury required surgery and caused him to miss all but four of the team’s final 34 games.
Pitlick played in six contests in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, tallying no points and a -5 rating. As the season went along, Pitlick slowly shifted to the bottom of the depth chart under Jim Montgomery‘s staff and couldn’t seem to find the rhythm that he had put on display in 2017-18.
With one year left on a contract paying him an AAV of $1 million, it was an easy deal for the Flyers to absorb with the hopes of putting him into their bottom-six and reigniting the fire he displayed two seasons ago.
Hartman, on the other hand, has become a bit of an NHL journeyman over the past two seasons. He was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks at 30th overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft (just one pick after the Stars selected Jason Dickinson). The forward showed off his offensive abilities during his rookie season in 2016-17 with 19 goals, 31 points, and a +13 rating in 76 games.
He put together another respectable season as a depth forward in 2017-18, scoring eight goals and tallying 25 points in 57 games with the Blackhawks before being traded to the Nashville Predators at the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline. He finished the season with three goals and six points in a Nashville uniform and tacked on two goals and three points in nine playoff games.
In 2018-19, Hartman posted a 10-goal, 20-point campaign in 64 games with the Predators before being dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers at the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline in exchange for Wayne Simmonds. He wrapped up the season with two goals and six points in 19 games with the Flyers.
Hartman is a typical third-line forward that seemed to possess a world of potential just two seasons ago before falling victim to the Trade Deadline and falling off in production.
He plays with an aggressive style, even though he boasts a 6-0, 181 lb. frame. The 24-year-old brings physicality to the ice and can be an agitator that gets under the opponent’s skin while also contributing solid offensive numbers and providing a decent two-way presence. He’s a good defensive forward and has started his shifts in the defensive zone most of the time over the past few seasons.
An interesting point about Hartman is that he is currently an RFA. The league deadline to qualify RFAs is scheduled for Tuesday, June 25, meaning that Dallas may have to qualify him before taking the next step. His qualifying offer would have to be $918,750, though he will likely end up wanting more in a new contract (keep in mind that he is also eligible for arbitration).
Even so, this could end up paying off for the Dallas Stars in a good way. Hartman is a younger forward that has shown flashes of offensive power. He could end up being a solid option for the Stars on offense and even on the power play while also bringing some much-needed aggression back to the forward group.
It’s a low-risk deal with a potential payoff for Nill and the Stars. If Hartman can pan out, Dallas could have a quality depth scorer that can contribute in various areas while also boosting the team’s aggression in all three zones.