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What Could Harrington Signing Mean for Sharks Defense?



Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The San Jose Sharks have signed PTO defenseman Scott Harrington to an NHL contract. What does that mean for the Sharks’ defensive corps?

A source tells San Jose Hockey Now that it’s a one-year, two-way contract worth $750,000 in the NHL and $350,000 in the AHL.

Harrington has been solid defensively for the Sharks in the preseason, impressing head coach David Quinn. In my viewings of him, I wonder about his puck-moving, but that could be mitigated by his new training camp defensive partner, Erik Karlsson.

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Harrington takes the place of Markus Nutivaara by Karlsson’s side. Nutivaara is considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury related to a hip ailment last year that sidelined him for most of last season.

Quinn said Nutivaara’s lower-body injury is related to the issue he had last season when he missed 81 of 82 regular season games and all of the Florida Panthers’ two-round playoff run.

Nutivaara played in last Sunday’s preseason game at home against Los Angeles but did not feel healthy the following day and has stayed off the ice this week.

“It’s been a tough go for him,” Quinn told The Mercury News of Nutivaara. “He’s battling and doing everything he can, and hopefully he feels better [by Saturday].”

Saturday is a key date for the San Jose Sharks, as that’s when they’ll have to cut their roster down from about 48 to 27 for their season-opening road trip to Berlin and Prague.

Nutivaara sounds like a longshot to make the trip, but another source told SJHN that the Finnish defender is truly day-to-day, and to some degree, just dealing with expected wear and tear after missing so much time. He could feel better tomorrow or join the team later in the trip.

That might be a rosy view, we’ll see. The Sharks project to need all the help that they can get on defense.

So what does Harrington bring to the Sharks?

The 29-year-old defenseman comes to San Jose via the Columbus Blue Jackets organization, where he spent the last six seasons.

With 210 games of NHL experience under his belt, Harrington does provide an experienced option. However, we’ll see about his NHL sea-worthiness nowadays. He appeared in just seven contests with the Blue Jackets last year.

“Veteran defender, on the back-nine of his career,” an NHL scout told SJHN two weeks ago. “Plays a pretty competitive game. Not going to provide much offense but can defend and PK. Low-level depth option, trending into more of an AHL vet presence.”

Scout on What Scott Harrington Offers Sharks

An NHL executive concurred today: “Steady defensive guy. Little offense. One pass out of zone type. But smart and reliable at the AHL level. No. 7-8 D at very best.”

If Nutivaara misses Europe, and Harrington replaces him, this is how the San Jose Sharks defensive corps is looking right now:

Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Mario Ferraro
Radim Simek-Matt Benning

In this scenario, Jaycob Megna or Ryan Merkley appear to be your most-likely candidates for No. 7 defenseman.

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