Ryan Hartman helps soften loss of Wayne Simmonds but doesn't replace him in Flyers debut


Say hello to the new kid on the block, Ryan Hartman.

After making his debut on the ice last night against the Sabres, it took him no time to get Philly fans up out of their seats. 

Try less than five minutes. 

In his first shift, Hartman hit the ground running by delivering a massive hit against Rasmus Dahlin, the Sabres' 18-year-old, No. 1 draft pick in 2018 and arguably one of their most talented players on the ice.

Not only did he win over the tough crowd which is still unsure about the Wayne Simmonds trade, but the hit was also clean, putting the Flyers in power play position. 

A clean hit and a stadium of happy fans? It sounds like Hartman’s debut turned out exactly how it needed to. 

“He’s got that type of impact on games and he’s obviously strong on his skates,” James van Riemsdyk said. 

There is pressure on the new guy, who needs to prove to Flyers fans still mourning the departure of Simmonds that he's worthy of taking the ice in his place. 

But Hartman's goal isn't to replace Simmonds.

"I don't really look too far into that," he said. "I know his story here and what he means to this organization and this city. He’s a legend here, he’s done a lot of things for this team. I’m not really trying to fill any shoes, I’m just trying to play my game. I know what I can bring to this team and that’s on the score sheet and that’s on the physical side.” 

Hartman hopes to create his own legacy with the Flyers — the kind where he doesn’t necessarily have to replace Simmonds but can instead define his own identity and contribute to the team in his own way.

“When pucks are put into the zone, chase them down, get it back, get it up to our D and get to the front of the net. That’s my idea of hockey and I’ve always played that way,” Hartman said.  

Scott Gordon was pleased with Hartman’s debut performance, especially when the Flyers needed this win to get a chance at a wild-card selection.

"Very good first impression," Gordon said. "[The hit] obviously got the fans pretty excited and he showed a little bit about what he’s about...it brought great energy to the game."

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