Weight: 185 Pounds
Date of birth: June 7, 2003
Hometown: Dorchester, Ontario
OHL Draft: Round 1, 16th overall – 2019 Priority Selection
The 2021 National Hockey League Entry Draft was unlike any other since the inception of the draft. Scout’s eyes weren’t allowed in the rinks most of the time and more dependency was placed on video and analytics.
It was particularly tough when it came to Ontario Hockey League players who had to scramble to find a spot to get some games in when the OHL season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the players eligible for the draft sat out the season and the results were the worst performance by the OHL at the draft in its history. It also led to players falling in the draft.
Which leads us to Brett Harrison of the Oshawa Generals, selected in the third round, 85th overall by the Boston Bruins on the second day of the draft.
When scouts were allowed in rinks during the 2019-20 season where Harrison finished tied for third among rookies with 21 goals and seventh with 37 points, many believed he was on his way to a late first round selection in 2021. Once again, things changed.
Even Independent Scouting Services had some mixed results. Here’s a look at some of them:
|RED LINE REPORT||15|
|NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING||50|
Harrison has a shoot-first mentality, but that’s not to say he isn’t capable of setting up teammates. He routinely finds the open ice and possesses a quick release on his shot that has made him successful to date in his playing career. But his bread and butter is in front of the net. He is strong on his skates and a tough out in front of the blue paint. His ability to tip shots is very impressive as is his ability to pounce on rebounds for second chance opportunities.
Skating was and still is a concern for Harrison. While he has made some good strides in improving that aspect of his game, there is still work to be done. While he has decent top speed, achieving that top speed takes more time than it should. And he lacks a separation gear. His technique can also use some adjusting. But let’s give credit where credit is due. Harrison knows it is an area that he needs to work on and has put in the effort so far. He also said in his media availability that he is on the ice with his power skating coach 2 or 3 times a week this offseason. He has great lower body strength so it becomes a matter of using that in his technique.
Harrison doesn’t shy away from the physical game. He gets in on the forecheck and is willing to battle, but improving on his skating will enable him to get in there quicker for those 50-50 chances. He battles along the walls and has a long reach with his stick to dig in for those pucks.
Harrison has good anticipation. He’s capable of getting into lanes with his body or stick to disrupt the oppositions break out. He creates turnovers by doing just that. But he uses that same anticipation in the defensive zone. While he is very effective in his own zone, he can sometimes be caught losing his man.
Harrison has some flaws, but at this level, almost everyone does. But they aren’t anything good coaching and maturity can’t solve, if he’s willing to put in the work.
Drafting isn’t about what the player is today, but what you project him to be. Every indication is that this is a young man that is willing to put in the hard work necessary to improve. And that bodes well for Harrison and the Boston Bruins.