If new Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall wanted to make his mark on the club, he certainly did so on Monday. An assistant captain and a fan favorite, Scott Hartnell was shipped to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for R.J. Umberger and a fourth round selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
"The number one thing was we wanted to get quicker up front," said Hextall. "Whenever you make a deal there's a lot of considerations that come into the mix, but I guess the one for us was quickness. R.J. is also versatile, is a good two-way player capable of playing all three positions and can kill penalties, so he was an attractive guy for us moving forward."
For Umberger, his trade to Flyers marks a homecoming of sorts. The 32-year-old forward had requested a trade. Umberger broke into the NHL with the team in 2005, spending three seasons in Philadelphia.
"It's all come full-circle," said Umberger. "I'm excited. From my exit interview until now, it felt like a lot of waiting ... a lot of anxiety and just wondering how this was going to go. But I couldn't have asked for a better resolution.”
For Hartnell, who is also 32, the deal wasn’t quite as simple. Only a year into a six-year $28.5 million contract, Hartnell had a no-trade clause. Hartnell had questions, but getting him to agree to waive it to head to Columbus didn’t take that much convincing.
"All I want to do is win,” said Harntell. “Columbus has a great chance moving forward."
Hartnell was acquired by the Flyers (along with Kimmo Timonen) from the Nashville Predators in 2007, in exchange for Nashville’s first round pick in the 2007 draft (previously acquired in a trade for Peter Forsberg). In his seven seasons in Philadelphia, Hartnell scored 157 goals.
Hartnell and Umberger were teammates with the Flyers during the 2007-2008 season.