Intro: Sportsnet.ca is previewing the top 30 prospects in the 30 days leading up to the National Hockey League Draft in New Jersey on June 30.
The first profile begins with Plymouth Whalers agitator and American world junior gold-medalist, Ryan Hartman.
Stats: Plymouth Whalers (OHL) | 56 GP | 23 G | 37 A | 60 P | +29 | 120 PIM
Who is Ryan Hartman?
Hartman joined the Plymouth Whalers this season after spending the previous two at the United States National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. He captured gold medals with the U.S. under-18 and world junior programs. The 18-year-old made an impact in his first OHL season, compiling more than a point-per-game and finishing seventh in the league in penalty minutes.
Ryan Hartman’s scouting report:
He’s a gritty agitator who will score a goal and remind you of it afterwards. Hartman lets both his mouth and his play do the talking and he’s always eager to whisper sweet nothings into an opponent’s ear. Hartman’s offensive game translated well to junior and he possesses enough vision and skills to make an impact in the offensive zone.
He suffered a scary injury when a skate cut to his right wrist left him sidelined for part of the playoffs with a wrist laceration. He eventually returned for the Western Conference finals.
Teams who might be interested in Ryan Hartman:
Hartman will be intriguing to many teams given his grit, agitating style and offensive skill set. Some teams may be scared off by his wrist injury, while it may be less of an issue for others given that he did return.
It’s easy to project him on an NHL roster, and a team like Columbus could be a natural fit. The new Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is known to covet players who combine grit with offence. The Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks could also make for intriguing suitors.
“Hartman’s a lot like Matt Cooke,” says David Burstyn, director of scouting for McKeen’s Hockey. “He plays a very agitating style. At the beginning of the year, he was taking a lot of penalties and really chippy behind the play, just to kind of get guys off their game. As a result, he took a lot of poor minor penalties, but towards the back half of the year, he really kind of adjusted his play.
“All in all, he’s a little small on the ice, but he’s got some skills,” Burstyn added. “He can make some plays, he hits, does a little bit of everything. He’s a guy that’s kind of interchangeable because he’s got a good enough skill set, but he also has a good work ethic. He can play in your top six or your bottom six.”
Rankings: Hartman ranked 16th by the NHL’s Central Scouting (North American skaters), 36th by McKeen’s Hockey, 41st by International Scouting Services.