Battalion Breakdown is a closer look at the Blue Jackets' past season on a player-by-player basis. Today, BlueJackets.com continues the series by looking at Scott Harrington's season and how it impacted Columbus in the 2018-19 campaign.
Birth date: March 10, 1993
Height/Weight: 6-2, 207
Stats (Games, G-A-P, point shares): 73 GP, 2-15-17, 3.3 PS
Contract: Signed through 2021-22 season
There's a feeling that Scott Harrington is a bit of a plucky underdog, and there's an element of truth to that fact.
Harrington has had to work his way into being an NHL player, including short stints with the Penguins and Maple Leafs and two years with the Blue Jackets largely spent as the team's No. 7 defenseman.
But it does bear remembering that the Kingston, Ontario, native has a pretty solid hockey background, including two appearances on Canada's IIHF World Junior Championship squad in his younger days. He also spent 2012-13 as captain of the London Knights, one of the top OHL teams in the league, and was the leader of a squad that also included Max Domi, Bo Horvat, Josh Anderson, Chris Tierney, Olli Maatta and Nikita Zadorov.
Which makes last season a testament to both talent, grit and hard work for Harrington. While his NHL career didn't take off as quickly as some of the other former Knights he played with in London, his constant work behind the scenes the past two years paid off this season in which he became a CBJ regular and set new career marks in most every category.
Entering the season: Harrington was with the Blue Jackets for the past two seasons but played in 54 games at the NHL level in that span. With Columbus losing Ian Cole and Jack Johnson from the 2017-18 team, there figured to more opportunities for Harrington to take advantage of where he could put the experience gained working with team staff members to use.
What happened: Harrington in fact stepped up to that challenge and became a regular in the lineup for the first time in his NHL career.
The 73 games nearly doubled what Harrington had played in the first four seasons of his NHL career, and Harrington responded with career highs of two goals and 15 assists. The assist total was a notable jump, as he had just five on his career ledger going into the season.
Harrington also became a key piece of the CBJ penalty kill after Ryan Murray went down with injury and was a versatile player who could slot in pretty much anywhere in the defensive pairings. His high compete level was often lauded by head coach John Tortorella, as Harrington seemingly never gave up on a play and ended up plus-6 on the year after having been on the ice for 35 even-strength goals against, or less than a half goal per game.
"Harry is a guy that we all know just competes and plays," Tortorella said during the postseason. "He's been a big part of our team throughout the year here."
He added four assists and a plus-4 rating while playing in all 10 postseason games. After the conclusion of the season, Harrington was a restricted free agent, and Columbus has since signed him to a three-year contract.
"You start trying to assert yourself and show the coaches what you can do and play the game that you know you can play and the game that's kind of brought you to that point. That's what I tried to do, and I know I still have a lot of room to grow," he said.
"I still want to get to the game I know I can get to, to the level I know I can play at. It's almost a thing where for me almost every game or every 10 games I got more confident, and so that's all I'm trying to do is keep working on the areas of my game I need to improve this summer and have the same mentality when I come to training camp."
Over the years, Blue Jackets players have talked about the sneaky good shot Harrington has, even though the defenseman has tallied just five goals with the team. One of those came in a key Feb. 28 win over Philadelphia right after the trade deadline, as with the squads tied at 2 in the third period, Harrington one-timed a pass from Ryan Dzingel over the glove of Flyers goalie Brian Elliott. It was a critical goal in a game the Blue Jackets would go on to win in overtime.
Video: PHI@CBJ: Harrington wires one-timer past Elliott
By the Numbers
13:03: Harrington played an average of 13:03 during the regular season, a mark in line with previous years. In 2016-17, he played an average of 13:00 with the CBJ, and in 2017-18 he averaged 13:18 of ice time.
49.7: At even strength, Harrington had a near even split of offensive zone and defensive zone starts. He was on the ice for 49.7 percent of his starts in the offensive zone as compared to 50.3 percent in the defensive zone.
112: Harrington attempted 112 shots but just 54 ended up on net.