When news broke of Scott Hartnell being traded, the motives behind the deal were somewhat of a mystery. The Flyers were getting a seemingly less skilled player in return, along with a fourth-round draft pick for 2015. The first round of hints and insinuations have arrived, and they are painting Hartnell himself as the primary impetus for driving the deal through.
Talk going around is Scott Hartnell requested Flyers trade him. Has no-movement clause.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) June 23, 2014
Muttering from hockey writers is one thing, but Hartnell's statements to Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, as relayed to Blue Jackets beat writer Aaron Portzline, seem interesting.
"[Hartnell] had a lot of questions, but the only real hard question he had for me is, he wanted to know that we are committed to winning," Kekalainen told The Columbus Dispatch. "He said, 'I want to win. I’m 32 years old. I’ve made a lot of money. I want to win.' That’s basically the question I wanted to hear, the answer I wanted to get. That’s why he’s coming here and that’s what he wants to do."
Hartnell waived his no-movement clause in order to go to Columbus, a decision he made after speaking at length with Kekalainen. This paints a pretty clear picture, one that at least temporarily clears Flyers general manager Ron Hextall from making an odd trade of a franchise mainstay with deep roots in the community.
There's nothing particularly villainous about a player wanting a trade. Hartnell reportedly said his priority is to win at this point, not to spurn the Flyers. However, it does create a new context for the deal as a whole. The presence of a no-movement clause in his contract alone is enough to indicate the trade needed his blessing to be executed.
The darker message is that Hartnell didn't feel Philadelphia was his best chance to win the Stanley Cup.