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Hard work, competitiveness pay off as Harrington re-signs with Columbus

Blue Jackets defenseman inked three-year deal after breakthrough season

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

For Scott Harrington, it's nice to sign a three-year contract with the Blue Jackets and have the security that comes along with it. 

Even better, it's nice to stay in what has become his professional home. 

With the deal the defenseman signed on Friday, which includes an average annual value of $1.63 million dollars, he'll get the chance to continue on with the organization that gave him a chance and was rewarded with his breakthrough 2018-19 season. 

"It's a great feeling," Harrington said Friday. "I'm thrilled to be back for three years. It's nice to get it done relatively early on in the summer. I love Columbus. I've been there for three years now so it kind of feels like home. That was something I was hopeful for going into these negotiations was to get as many years as possible for many reasons, but a big one was I enjoy this city so much and I enjoy playing with the guys I've been with the last three years. 

"I couldn't ask for a better place to play so I'm thrilled." 

Harrington is coming off a season in which he set career highs in every major category. After playing 54 games over his first two seasons in Columbus, he played in 73 this past season while scoring two goals with 15 assists for 17 points. He was also a key part of the team's penalty kill and played in all 10 playoff games this past year with a rating of plus-4 in the postseason. 

Video: PHI@CBJ: Harrington wires one-timer past Elliott

"The biggest thing with Harry is how much respect we have here because he competes so hard," head coach John Tortorella said during the postseason. "As you go through a game and there's some struggles, it doesn't bother him, he gets ready for his next shift. He makes up for a lot of things, a lot of attributes that he doesn't have like a (Seth) Jones, he makes up with a willingness and a competitiveness.  

"That's a pretty good story for us as far as where Harry was sitting out and watching all the time to being in the second round and playing some good minutes for us." 

Harrington said he became more and more confident as the season went on, which helped him settle into his game. A former member of Team Canada's World Junior squads and a standout with OHL London, which helped make him a second-round pick of Pittsburgh in the 2011 draft, Harrington played in just 25 games his first two NHL seasons with the Penguins and Toronto before being acquired by the Blue Jackets for Kerby Rychel in the summer of 2016. 

"At the beginning (of the year) I wasn't really playing, then I got into the lineup and got to stay in the lineup and that was great," he said. "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.  

"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." 

Looking back at the road he traveled to ink this deal, Harrington said, "It feels good when management makes a three-year commitment to you. I've had a lot of help the last three years. There have been some frustrating times, that's for sure, but I've had a lot of help from the guys on the team and the coaching staff and strength coaches. They've stayed with me and I kept working hard, and I guess in a way it feels like it paid off today so it's a nice feeling for sure." 

Video: Harrington visits with local students

Harrington is the 14th Blue Jackets player to sign a deal that will keep him in Columbus for at least the next two seasons, meaning the team's core is in place for the next couple campaigns. He's also the sixth defenseman to sign a one-way deal for next year, with Zach Werenski still a restricted free agent and both Adam Clendening and Vladislav Gavrikov also under contract, meaning there will be competition along the blue line.  

So there will be no resting on his laurels, but Harrington also feels good about the direction of the franchise he signed with today. 

"We have a ton of cap room and a lot of core guys that are signed, and they're great hockey players and just great people," he said. "Anyone who has come to our team the last three years that I've been here whether it be via trade, in the season or signing in the summer, guys really do enjoy playing with the core group that is on the team. I think we get along better than any team I've ever played on.

"Columbus has done a really good job of signing good hockey players, but you can tell they put an emphasis on bringing in good people, and that creates a good atmosphere and hopefully a winning atmosphere." 

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