Ryan Hartman is well aware of where he is currently playing in the Wild lineup. Surrounded by Hawking wingers Jordan Greenway and Marcus Foligno, the hard-nosed Hartman is filling a role once occupied by a Joel Eriksson one.
The combination of the Ericsson one centered on Greenway and Foligno last season proved to be the most reliable line on the team. Not only did they lock down the opposing team’s top players with regularity, they were also able to pass the momentum to the other side.
It’s up to Hartmann to continue that trend that he’s the man between Greenway and Foligno.
“They were awesome for us to close the top lines,” Hartmann said. “I think we’re going to be that kind of line again. I’m definitely proud to be around the puck. I think the three of us can be really good defensively.”
In the same breath, Hartman notes that contributing how aggressively is also important. He prides himself on being a two-pronged player, and while he’s proven to be able to fill that role in the past, it’s no doubt the biggest opportunity for Hartman since singing with Wilde on July 1, 2019. Is.
For the past few seasons, Hartmann has played in the bottom half of the lineup, grinding out tough minutes against opposing teams night and night. Now he is getting a chance in the top half of the lineup.
Not bad, considering that Hartmann recently switched back to center. He stepped into that role last season and impressed coach Dean Iveson in the process.
“His play decided that he deserved to be there again,” said Evans. “Our thought process when we walked in was[the Erikson one][whoever]there is a real gritty defensive-minded guy. It’s pretty clear who he is.”
When asked about switching to the centre, Hartmann said he likes the position because he is around the puck a lot.
“Sometimes you go through a change as a winger, and you stand your point, and you go through a minute or a half and there’s no impact on the play or the puck,” Hartmann he said. “As a hub you’re always there. It’s kind of a fit for me. I’ve enjoyed it.”
Needless to say, Wilde has also enjoyed Hartmann in that position. He’s willing to do anything to win — and as he showed by dropping gloves with Gabriel Landeskog against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday — action on the ice seems to be chasing him.
“He’s got a provoking mentality,” Evans said. “He loves to stir it up. He loves to go out there. What better person than him to play against the top line.