ST. PAUL, MN – The Penguins know the importance of adding depth at every position throughout the organization.
But the most critical position in need of continual stockpiling is defense, and the Penguins addressed that situation in the first two rounds of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, MN.
In Round 1 on Friday, the team chose Portland blueliner Joseph Morrow
with the 23rd-overall selection.
On Saturday in Round 2, the Penguins chose London Knights defenseman Scott Harrington
with the 54th-overall pick.
“It feels great,” Harrington said of his selection. “I’m still in shock right now, but to go to an organization like the Pittsburgh Penguins – I can’t say enough good things about what they’ve done with their team and with their players, and I’m really excited being a part of their future.”
Harrington, 18, is a solid defensive defenseman that is accountable in his own zone.
“I consider myself a very reliable defensive defenseman,” Harrington said. “Someone who’s tough to play against and who can be put out in all situations. I consider myself a good puck mover as well.
“The biggest thing that (the Penguins) asked me to work on was just getting quicker, and I think that’s something that everyone needs to work on to get to the NHL. So I’d say that’s the biggest thing I’m working on right now.”
Harrington, who compared himself to NY Rangers blueliner Dan Girardi, isn’t shy about playing a physical style of hockey – which isn’t surprising considering his head coach in London is former NHL tough guy Dale Hunter.
“You look at Dale and Mark (Hunter) and the amount of penalty minutes those guys put up in the NHL, they’ve definitely taught us how to play the game right,” Harrington said. “I don’t mind the physical aspect. I just try to be a very reliable defenseman and hard to play against for the other team’s top lines. If you’re playing against the other team’s top lines, you have to be physical in order to limit their scoring chances.”
Last season in London, Harrington was paired with Penguins prospect Reid McNeill
, who was Pittsburgh’s sixth-round pick (170th overall) in the 2010 draft. Both players are expected to attend the Penguins prospect development camp in July.
“I’m sure I’ll give him a call after I go home and after this weekend,” Harrington said. “I’m sure he’s really excited. He’s a great guy and a great player also. He was my D partner this year, so it’s pretty special for me to get drafted to the Penguins. He went through the process last year with the team and he had nothing but good things to say about it, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Harrington can start to look forward to a lot of things now that the draft process is over and he’s found himself a home in the Penguins organization.
“It’s a big relief,” Harrington said of being drafted. “I’m still kind of shaking a little bit right now. It was kind of surreal when my name was called, but you know, it’s been a long season. I’ve worked my whole life to get to this point, and I’m ecstatic to be drafted by the Penguins. It’s such a great organization and it’s a real weight off my shoulders right now.”