For a hockey fan, the arrival of July 1st means the unofficial start to the coming hockey season. The event sparking this fan interest is the start of the NHL’s annual free agency period, where player movement, or more specifically, rumors of player movement tend to dominate the hockey headlines and the news-hungry Twitterverse. Read more»
For a team that has drilled a message of patience, new Toronto Maple Leafs management has been able to restock the prospect cupboard rather quickly. Players with high-end skill successfully acquired through trade, via the draft and by signing undrafted free agents. Equally positive news was that a majority of the top prospects already in the Maple Leafs system metor exceeded expectations in 2014-15.
As an 18-year-old from Kingston, Ontario, Scott Harrington has a familiar sounding back story.
"I live out towards the country and there are a lot of frozen lakes out there," said Harrington recalling his pond hockey days. "My dad always built a rink in our backyard. I think almost every guy in Canada has a rink in their backyard."
How Harrington dominated as a midget minor player with the Kingston Jr Frontenacs is where the story deviates from the norm. As a 15-year-old he managed 19 goals and 48 points in 66 games and was heavily scouted by OHL teams, eventually taken by the London Knights 18th overall in 2009. Having taken power skating lessons before he ever played organized hockey, Harrington adapted fairly quickly to the speed and skill of the OHL.
The Pittsburgh Penguins entered the 2011 NHL draft with five picks and left with two defenseman and three forwards. They spent their first two picks on defensemen, the second time in three years they have done so, and drafted several project forwards in the later rounds.
While there may have been some initial shock among fans that the organization drafted defensemen early, especially given the stockpile of blueliners they currently have in the organization, it should be no surprise given General Manager Ray Shero’s history. In his previous five drafts with the Penguins, Shero selected five defensemen in the first three rounds, a number that is accentuated by the fact the organization has traded away many of its early round picks over the past few years. Prior to joining the Penguins, Shero worked in the front office of the Nashville Predators, an organization renowned for stockpiling and developing defensemen.