The Philadelphia Flyers are missing one of their tops forwards.
No, he isn’t injured. In fact, he has played in 60 of the team’s 64 games this season. He just hasn’t around much in the lately.
Scott Hartnell is having a decent season by most standards with 15 goals and 25 assists for 40 points in 60 games. He isn’t on pace to put up 37 goals like he did in 2011-12 when he scored he achieved a career-high in goals and points (67) but he has his fourth-career 30-assist season in sight.
Not bad. But where has he been?
Hartnell hasn’t been in the spotlight much for the Flyers since February began. He has just one goal and six assists for seven points in his nine games in February and March after scoring six goals and dishing out eight assists in the month of January alone.
It isn’t like the Flyers are not playing well offensively because they are and the hottest line on the team is Hartnell’s with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.
Giroux has nine goals and nine assists for 18 points in his last 12 games while Voracek has three goals and four assists for seven points in the last three games. Hartnell has not scored in March and has three assists in four games this month.
How has Hartnell not capitalized on this torrid stretch by his linemates? Your guess is as good as mine.
The Flyers top line could become an unstoppable force if Hartnell can regain is scoring form from January.
Make no mistake about it, Hartnell has not played poorly and has been far from a liability on the ice for the Flyers despite his penchant for taking a boneheaded penalty or two. Hartnell had the assist on Voracek’s game-winning goal against the Washington Capitals in last Wednesday’s 6-4 victory.
But just because he hasn’t been a liability does not mean he has been an impact player the Flyers expected him to be when they signed him to a six-year, $28.5 million contract extension in August 2012.
If the Flyers can find their missing winger, they could be waking up a sleeping giant for the home stretch.