Jay Harrison (Courtesy: Benjamin Reed)

Feature Friday: #44 Jay Harrison

Arguably one of the most improved players over the past few years since joining the Hurricanes, Jay Harrison is starting to solidify his role as a defensively responsible and gritty defenseman for the Carolina Hurricanes. After several seasons playing for different leagues including the Metro Junior A league, Ontario Hockey League, Swiss National League A, and the American Hockey League, Harrison has seemed to finally find a home playing defense in the NHL. During his first NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens on January 27th, 2006, he scored his first NHL point, an assist. He scored his first ever NHL goal on October 9th, 2009, in a 7-2 victory against the Florida Panthers.

Harrison, 28, signed a 2-year contract with the Hurricanes in the off-season after posting career highs in games played (72), goals (3) and points (10). His contract pays him $650k this year and $750k next year. The Oshwa, Ontario native was drafted 82nd overall in the 2001 NHL entry draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs and played a total of 20 games for the Leafs, registering only 2 points. He signed his first contract with the Hurricanes in July of 2009 and split time with the Canes and their minor league affiliate at the time, the Albany River Rats. On top of playing for the AHL and NHL professionally, Harrison also represented his country three times during the 1999, 2001 and 2002 World Junior Championships. Team Canada won the silver in 2002 and the bronze in 2001.

Last season was a giant stepping stone in Harrison’s career, as most Caniacs saw him progress over his first year with the club during the 2009-2010 season. If he continues to progress at the rate that he is, I can only imagine with the rest of this season and the rest of his contract will look like. He might not necessarily be part of a top-tier pairing in the NHL, but he does a lot of the little things the right way, and that goes a long way in making a solid defenseman for several years to come.

Now, for some Jay Harrison highlights, including a goal scored last season against the Pittsburgh Penguins:

Now, of course, a good scrap against Nick Tarnasky of the Florida Panthers from the 2009-2010 season:

 

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