Kevin Cheveldayoff finally did something! The Jets GM, in the midst of an incredibly bruised blueline, acquired depth defender Jay Harrison from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a 2015 6th round pick.
Harrison has a connection to head coach Paul Maurice, as he coached him as a Toronto Maple Leaf and during his second tenure with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Harrison has been mainly played as a bottom pairing defenceman, with the ability to step into the top four when needed. He was averaging 16:30 with the Canes so far this season, which puts him at number five on the list (players playing over 15 games) behind Justin Faulk, Andrej Sekera, Ron Hainsey, and John-Michael Liles ahead of only Tim Gleason.
Harrison is known for his no-nonsense and gritty game. He’s a proven penalty killer and an NHL veteran of 5 full NHL seasons including the current season.
WHAT WILL HARRISON BE LEANED ON TO DO???
With the long list of injuries on the blueline, Harrison drops in at #4 on the depth chart. Kevin McCartney touched on the blueline depth chart at its current state, mentioning that forward turned blue liner, turned forward turned blue liner again Dustin Byfuglien has done an admirable job since returning to defence, and he’s number one.
AHL call-up Ben Chiarot, whom I did an extensive article on, joins Big Buff on the team’s top pairing. With Adam Pardy and Paul Postma making up the final pairing, that puts Jay Harrison alongside recently healthy Grant Clitsome.
Byfuglien and Postma are the most likely to lead the power play from the point, with Clitsome and Chiarot taking a turn or two, and that means Harrison will be put in Mark Stuart’s place as the penalty killing guru.
Harrison will likely play more than the 16:30 he was playing in Carolina and could even see the 20:00 minute mark. The 32-year-old veteran won’t be Jacob Trouba or Mark Stuart or Zach Bogosian or Tobias Enstrom for the club, but he has another year on his contract following this season, and could make himself a mainstay on the bottom pairing come next season.
THE RIPPLE EFFECT
With Harrison now in navy blue, and injuries piling up on both the NHL and farm club, the St.John’s IceCaps have signed former 1st round draft pick Ryan Parent to an AHL contract. Parent won gold at the World Junior championship with Canada in 2006 and 2007, and was involved in the deal that sent Peter Forsberg to Nashville.
He never lived up to the expectations of being a first round draft pick in the NHL, and other than a bottom pairing run to the Stanley Cup final with the Philadelphia Flyers (where he averaged a measly 7:28 per game. Must be nice having a Chris Pronger on your roster), he hasn’t seen NHL ice since a four-game stint with the Vancouver Canucks in 2010-11.
Parent was playing for the Ontario Reign of the ECHL before signing his new contract. He should fill in the gaps until the Jets and IceCaps blueline gets healthy.
THE POTRATZ ANALYSIS
Aw yes, what everyone has been waiting on…
This was a move that needed to be made, and it makes me understand Kevin Cheveldayoff a bit more. He may sit on his hands a little more than many would like, but he does make deals when they make total sense.
A 6th round pick is unlikely to turn into anything and he was able to flip one of those to acquire a solid NHL depth defenceman. His $1.5 million cap hit for the remainder of the season plus another was likely the reason the pick was 6th.
Even when the Jets have a completely healthy blueline, Harrison still fits into their top-7 group. If Byfuglien returns to forward, the chart goes like this; Enstrom, Trouba, Bogosian, Stuart, Clitsome, Harrison, Chiarot. Yes that leaves Postma and Pardy out, but I don’t feel like anyone would be all that upset with those results.
Harrison makes his debut against the Boston Bruins tonight as the Jets look to take advantage of a struggling underachieving team.