More on that a little later.
I get asked often enough to make a case for Brett Harrison playing wing or playing center. Today, I will make the case for him to be a winger. A couple of weeks ago, when I was speaking here about Frederic Brunet I said “when you put good players with good players, great things will happen”. And that’s precisely the case with Harrison.
Since being acquired by the Windsor Spitfires and the team subsequently acquired Shane Wright, Harrison has been playing predominantly on Wright’s left side – except when Wright is out with an injury. He missed 3 games, came back for a period and went out again forcing Coach Marc Savard to put Harrison back in the middle.
In the games that Harrison has played with Wright (leaving out the one period in Wright’s return) Harrison has 7 goals and 5 assists in 6 games. In 7 games without Wright, Harrison has just 2 goals and 2 assists in those games.
Playing wing isn’t something that just happened with Windsor. Harrison did plenty of that with the Oshawa Generals and the numbers don’t lie. In 27 games with Oshawa this season, Harrison played just 8 games down the middle and he did just fine with 4 goals and 3 assists. But place him on left wing for 19 games and the numbers actually soar to 12 goals and 14 assists.
But the difference isn’t just due to playing with good players. Trust me when I say there is no one on the Generals roster that is at the level of Wright. A lot of it is due to the fact Harrison had less defensive responsibilities, something that is still a work in progress. He’s not the quickest of skaters so if he had to come down low in his own end, it took him more time to join the rush in transition. Scoring on the rush is something both teams do very well.
You might also be surprised to find out that only 5 of his 26 goals have come on the powerplay, especially if you’re watching highlights of his one-timer from the right circle. The move from center to wing in Windsor has opened up that opportunity for him that he wasn’t getting in Oshawa. Most of his time was spent in front of the net or in the bumper position.
However, someone asked me about his faceoffs and losing him on the dot is a detriment. Well, let’s look at the numbers: Harrison is 117 for 237 on the dot for 49.3% efficiency. However, if you take faceoffs on his strong side, he is at 58.9% efficiency. There is nothing to prevent him from taking key draws on his strong side if the need arises.
When I take everything into consideration, I have finally made up my mind. Both Harrison and the Bruins are better off if he continues his path as a winger.
I had the opportunity to speak with some college scouts and almost to a person, they were somewhat surprised at Andre Gasseau. Among freshman, he ranks in the top-50 in points production and top-25 in assists. After putting up 22 goals and 16 assists in 60 games for the Fargo Force of the USHL, are you surprised?
Most felt that the transition from the USHL to the NCAA was going to take some time but Gasseau has just gone about his business and played his game and Boston College couldn’t be happier with the results on the scoreboard.
Moving forward, some believe he could be a point-per-game player as a sophomore. I thought we could see that by year four, maybe year three so that is music to my ears. It’s not just his offence that has come along at a quicker then expected pace. His all-around game is developing at a high curve where some are closer to a flat line.
The Bruins are doing well at finding players in the later rounds. They won’t be superstars or top line players but for now they are looking like they can play in the NHL. Hey, you need all types of players. You can’t have a roster of 20 superstars, right?
Here’s a look at the Providence Bruins leaders:
Coming up this week:
|PLAYER||MON 6||TUE 7||WED 8||THU 9||FRI 10||SAT 11||SUN 12|
|MANTYKIVI||Vs KPa||At KAR|
|MYRENBERG||At ALM||V MOD|
|JELLVIK/GASSEAU/KUNTAR||Vs HAR||At MNE|
|LOHREI||At N D||At N D|
|LANGENBRUNNER||Vs B C||At DAR|
|SCHMALTZ||At DEN||At DEN|
|DURAN/SVEDEBACK||At N E|
|GALLAGHER||At N E|
|MCFAUL||Vs QUI||Vs PRI|
|POITRAS||Vs FNT||Vs LDN||At PBO|
|HARRISON||At FNT||Vs SOO||At SAG|
|MAST||At N B||At SBY||At SOO|
|EDWARD||Vs FNT||Vs KIT||Vs ER||At GUE|
|BRUNET||At R-N||At V’do||Vs SHE|
|DYCK||Vs PA||At PA|
AROUND THE GLOBE
Frederic Brunet is on a tear. He has a 9-game point streak going on 2 goals and 16 assists and now leads all QMJHL defenceman in scoring with 10 goals and 46 assists in 47 games. He also leads the entire league in powerplay assists. Interesting stat: If you take his production in 11 games since the trade and project it over a 68-game schedule, it translates to 129 points which would be second in QMJHL history among defencemen.
Dans Locmelis scored both goals in a 2-1 victory over Mora on Saturday. He followed that up Sunday with a goal and an assist but his team went down to defeat by a score of 6-3 against Leksands IF, Locmelis is tied for the J20 Nationell Top-10 scoring race with 14 points in 8 games.
Quinn Olson is on a 4-game point streak on 2 goals and 3 assists after I wrote here last week on whether the Bruins sign him or not after his season. It’s the third time in his NCAA career he’s been on such a streak, the last one coming in February 2022. He’s now second in scoring with the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.
Matthew Poitras had another multi assist game Sunday with three. He has points in 10 of his last 12 games with 3 goals and 18 assists. He’s had 6 multi point games in that stretch. His improvement from the start of the season until now is marked, including faceoffs where he is now at 55.9%. Like Harrison, Poitras has spent some time on the wing and 7 of his 12 goals on the season have come while he was riding shot gun.
Mason Lohrei has a goal and 7 assists in his last 10 games. The good thing about that is that Lohrei is getting it done 5-on-5 as well as on the powerplay. His 21 points on the season is tied for third among sophomore defencemen in the NCAA.
Dustyn McFaul set a career high in assists on the weekend with 7 and matched his career high in points – also 7, that were set during his freshman season and in 10 fewer games. By no means am I suggesting this is new found offence by McFaul, but it was nice to see with the Bruins brass in the house on Saturday.
Ryan Mast had a 4-game point streak snapped on Sunday where he had a goal and 4 assists during the streak. Time missed because of a broken jaw likely means he won’t surpass last season’s output, but he has .60 points-per-game this season versus .53 a year ago.
Jake Schmaltz is still out with an injury.
Oskar Jellvik is pointless in 7 games. Not that the opportunities haven’t been there or he’s not creating chances.
Brett Harrison – get this kid back on the wing. After starting off sizzling hot since the trade, he has just two goals in his last 7 games (both coming in the same game) and just 1 assist. And get him back ib the right circle to fire one-timers on the powerplay.