Finding ice for Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Scott Harrington was a tougher task than anyone could have imagined. After being acquired in a deal for forward Kerby Rychel, Harrington came over from Toronto with low expectations.
The Blue Jackets needed to dump an unhappy forward, and they got a defenseman that had already been traded once before.
Harrington ended up being the prototypical defenseman for the Blue Jackets. He's stay-at-home, can skate well and make a pass if he needs to, and does everything well enough that he checks the boxes for a team that needed bodies to fill in throughout the season.
As the new season approaches, they're going to need to make a decision on who they prioritize as their defenseman going into next year.
Did Harrington do enough to solidify a spot?
When looking at the stats and also taking into account the player itself, Harrington can be best described as a mixed bag.
He hit career-best marks in multiple categories including points, assists, shots and penalty minutes. Considering that he hadn't played all that often before, those stats aren't all that impressive.
The underlying numbers for Harrington match up with the eyes a little better. He played mostly in a third-pairing role where his shot metrics were below average. He did start in the offensive zone a fair amount with his starts being split primarily even between the two.
Interestingly enough, Harrington's PDO was right near 100, meaning that nothing was too far out of whack numbers wise for him.
He was a third-pairing defenseman that may have put up points at a tiny higher than average clip. He was also given multiple defensive partners throughout the season meaning consistency was hard to find.
Highlight of the Campaign
Harrington is a restricted free agent and will be another odd contract for the Blue Jackets. How do you rate a third pairing defenseman that has been a good "soldier" during his time with the team? Harrington sat for long, long stretches and didn't see the ice often in previous years. Does that warrant a pay bump?
You'd have to think that he would be used as depth moving forward considering the glut of defenseman. That means another year or two of being the seventh or eighth defenseman on the roster. The emergence of Dean Kukan and Vladislav Gavrikov is going to make the competition that much more difficult.
On a team, though that does get bit by the injury bug, that means consistent work will be available for Harrington as he tries to solidify a spot in the lineup. Not much more than your average, replacement level defenseman, it is hard to see anything more than a short term deal.
All teams need a player that can step in and play a role in a moments notice. That is Harrington, and it should allow for him to have a spot on the team in the short term.