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01-06-2013, 10:55 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Originally Posted by
Yes, I absolutely/unfortunately do when it comes to considering who are the best defensive talents for the NHL, because that is different from being a junior standout.
Harrington is a uniquely smart young D-man and that is going to get him where he is going to go, but IMO he does not have physical abilities, skating or skill on the puck that will allow him to dominate at the next level the way that he is (quietly) dominant now.
Further, he is not likely going to be the kind of D-man who impose himself on forwards, and while he is good at blocking shots, I don't see him being particularly great at keeping forwards out his goalies crease. When forwards get bigger, stronger and faster, that will be more of a concern, as will his not very edgy play on the boards.
Harrington plays like Mark Eaton. Clearly his accomplishments so far makes it unfair to consider Eaton his ceiling, but while respecting his dependability, I just don't see the genuinely elite qualities in him.
Harrington's toolbox is more than good enough for him to succeed in his role. He's not a burner but his speed and mobility are fine, and he's not a bruiser but he hits to separate and protects his patch of ice.
Hunter, his coach in London, repeatedly compares him to Girardi, who likewise doesn't have any of the standout qualities you mention. I think that's his reasonable upside, guys like Girardi, Hamhuis, or Gorges - none of those guys are intimidating physical presences or speed demons either. Around 6'1" or 6'2", 25 points a year and stout, reliable defense.
It is not only a matter of 'gestating time'
It is also a matter of seeing that we have numerous other young D-men and thus don't have to treat anyone among them as someone you cannot/should not trade if it serves bigger needs. For instance, if you imagine that Despres and Morrow make it up on the big team, then I think in the medium term that is enough youngster influx, and I don't think Harrington's overall contributions will be on par with theirs, making him a third pairing D-man for the foreseeable future.
Then comes the need to always have some mature NHL defenders, and one should be able to always find one or two of those.
Despres and Morrow aren't going to be filling the same role as Harrington though, and to be honest, I wouldn't be shocked if Harrington saw the NHL before Morrow did, in spite of the latter's higher upside.
Nobody's untradable, least of all a prospect, but I can't imagine many plausible deals involving him that I'd pull the trigger on.
As for the Rangers.... I didn't know they did anything in the playoffs since Messier
, but I do know that their defensive record of the past few years has a great deal to do with that guy who almost got unanimous 1st place votes for the Vezina last season despite Quick's super season.
Without a Lundqvist and a team wide defense first mindset (we have neither), I am not going to trust in the Rangers model (or St.Louis for that matter), and I maintain that I cannot remember a team that won that way.
I think most would argue that the Rangers have about the best blueline in the league, youth or not. Lundquist is great, naturally, but that doesn't take away from their quality. They certainly aren't the reason NYR hasn't taken it all.
More to our concerns though, we currently don't have a single defenseman on the big roster under 25. There's a lot yet to be determined, and given Harrington's performance and upside, and our weaknesses, we ought to make retaining him a priority.
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