Late in the afternoon on Thursday, a day before the NHL's annual holiday roster freeze, the Carolina Hurricanes traded Jay Harrison to the injury-riddled Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick.
With a 7 p.m. faceoff against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs just a few hours away, there wasn’t much time to gather reaction from the first trade of Ron Francis’ general managerial tenure.
Following the game, a 4-1 win for the Canes, there was some time for reflection, and here’s a sampling of what was said.Cam Ward
“I’ve known Jay for a very long time. He’s a great human being and was a lot of fun to play with. That’s the tough part of what we do. You immediately think about his family, and we all as former teammates wish him the best in Winnipeg.”Justin Faulk
“It’s the tough part of the game. Trades do happen. It happens every year to one of your friends, one of your teammates. It’s tough to see guys go. You never like it. But we wish him all the best in Winnipeg, and we’ll miss him around here.”Bill Peters
Head coach Bill Peters said with the timing of the trade, he wasn’t able to fully address the move with the locker room. The team won’t skate today, and they’ll have the opportunity to discuss the departure of one of the designated alternate captains.
“He was a part of our leadership group, so that will be a void for sure. We’ll talk about that as a group tomorrow,” Peters said on Thursday night. “The timing wasn’t right to address it as a team, but we’ll do that tomorrow. I wish him nothing but the best.”
Before being dealt, Harrison had played in 20 of the Canes’ 30 games this season, recording four points (1g, 3a). With a glut of NHL defensemen on the roster and a number, including Ryan Murphy, waiting in the wings, it became a dilemma of numbers.
“It’s good for both parties, to be honest with you. It gives Harry a chance to be in the lineup and play,” Peters said. “We said when we brought [Michal Jordan] up that we wanted to give him a good look. … We’ve liked what we’ve seen.
“Eight legit d-men is too many,” he continued. “It’s just not a manageable number. Guys are looking over their shoulder. I think it’s a good move, and it allows us to settle into the seven we have.”
In Winnipeg, Harrison finds a familiar face and system under head coach Paul Maurice, for whom he played in Toronto and Carolina. And with the Jets missing defensemen Jacob Trouba, Mark Stuart, Tobias Enstrom and Zach Bogosian, Harrison will see immediate insertion into the lineup.
“I didn’t know they had quite the rash of injuries that they do in Winnipeg,” Peters said. “They’re beat up back there, and they need some depth. … Harry is a pro. He’s a good pro, and he’s going to go there and help them.
“To be fair to Harry, he deserves to play,” he continued. “He’ll get that opportunity in Winnipeg.”
Finally, eight simple words from Peters when he was first asked to discuss the trade:
“He’s a good man, a real good man.”