Jay Harrison may have been the most underrated player on the Carolina Hurricanes’ roster this season, but on Sunday GM Jim Rutherford announced that the defenseman would be playing for Team Canada at the 2013 IIHF World Championships.
Harrison played over 20 minutes a game for the Hurricanes this season recording 10 points. Last year, the 30-year-old scored a career-high nine goals.
But the biggest impact Harrison made on the Canes team, was being a reliable shut-down defenseman. The Canes defense is filled with puck-movers like Joni Pitkanen, Justin Faulk and Jamie McBain. Harrison helped ease the load of Tim Gleason, the only other defensive defenseman on the Carolina roster.
Most games Harrison was not noticeable on the ice, but that’s a good thing for a defenseman. If he is not being noticed, he is not making as many mistakes. Just look at Jamie McBain and the pressure he receives from the mistakes he makes.
Another thing Harrison brought to the table is the willingness to drop the gloves and protect a teammate. If Kevin Westgarth was not in the line-up, the Canes had few players that would fight, but Harrison fought three times this season and the opposing players were not easy opponents. Harrison fought Zdeno Chara, the biggest player in the NHL and Tom Sestito, who fought double the amount of Harrison in less games.
Of course there will be no fighting at the Worlds, but it is important to note the factor that Harrison brings to the Hurricanes.
Harrison will not see a huge role with the team, probably only playing on the bottom pairing, but he will help the team. Brodie, Dillon and Schultz have 201 NHL games between them. Harrison brings 249 just by himself.
Harrison should not be in the top four, but in the bottom pairing, he will supply the same defensive presence that he does for the Hurricanes.