With the OHL season still having no guaranteed start date, we are seeing more and more players getting loaned overseas to get some more playing time. At first, we saw guys like Brennan Othmann and Brandt Clarke making the trek over and players like Francesco Pinelli and Brett Harrison are not far behind.
Harrison made some noise last season in his rookie season with the Oshawa Generals. Drafted in the first round, 16th overall by the Generals in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, he managed to score 21 goals and added 16 assists for 37 points in 58 games. He has the chance to be a mid to late first-round pick in this upcoming draft.
Although many eyes are on top players such as Owen Power, Matty Beniers and Clarke, Harrison has the chance to be a great player at the next level. Here is why he is one to watch for the 2021 NHL Draft.
Great Size and Physicality
Harrison knows how to use his size to his advantage. When the puck is dumped in, he is great at getting in on the forecheck and uses his size to win puck battles in the corners. He does not shy down from physicality and loves to hit opponents when given the chance to do so. One of the spots where he makes his presence felt the most is right in front of the net. Standing at 6-foot-1, he is great at finding space in front and has superb hand-eye coordination that he uses to deflect pucks into the back of the net.
In one of the games I watched before the pandemic hit, Harrison made a superb play where he was able to outmuscle his opponent on the way to the net and was able to get his stick down to redirect the puck towards the net for a scoring chance. Although he didn’t score, it was impressive to see him battling hard and using his physicality to his advantage.
While Harrison made a lot of noise with his ability to put pucks in the net last season, he was also quite adept on the defensive side as well. When the puck is transitioning the other way, he always makes sure to come back and help out. He may lack top-end speed but he is always moving his feet and his effort is something that is never questioned.
One thing that has impressed me a lot with Harrison is his ability to read the play. Playing with an active stick, he is great at keeping guys to the outside of the defensive zone and breaking up passing lanes. He transitions the puck really well and is always there to provide support for his defenders when they are attempting to break out of the zone.
In the Future
While it is still too early to tell where prospects will most likely end up come draft day, Harrison has been ranked by scouts to go in the mid to late first-round or early second round. He has a lot of great skills at his disposal and will bolster a team’s prospect pool immediately. While I don’t expect him to be a top-line player at the NHL level, he has all the skills a team would want in a versatile middle-six player. He can play in many situations and is trusted by his coaches when the game comes down to the end. I am excited to see him play overseas (he was recently loaned to KOOVEE U20 of the U20 SM-sarja) and I hope to see him suit up for the Generals if the OHL season does finally get underway at some point.