In just over a year, Scott Harrington was selected in the second round of the 2011 draft, won a bronze medal for Team Canada in the World Junior Championship, helped the London Knights win the OHL championship and nearly won the Memorial Cup.
In between all of that, he's developed into one of the Penguins' best prospects.
Harrington had a impressive showing during the Penguins training camp and looked capable of playing in the NHL during a handful of preseason games.
This summer, Harrington will play for Canada in the Canada-Russia Challenge, a series between those two country's junior teams. After that, he will attend the Penguins' 2012 training camp with a year of experience in high-pressure situations under his belt.
Today, Harrington talked about his development, his London teammate, Penguins 2012 first-round pick Olli Maatta and why the London Knights have become a factory for NHL defensemen such as Dan Girardi and John Carlson:
What has the past year been like for you?
"It’s been a bit of whirlwind but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it starting last year at the draft and then coming into to development camp and (training) camp. I’ve really enjoyed my experience so far in Pittsburgh. Back in London, we had a successful season winning the OHL, just falling short to (Penguins prospect Anton Zlobin’s) team in the (Memorial Cup) Finals. It’s been busy but I’ve enjoyed it. As a hockey player that’s what you want to do. Be successful and be on the ice as much as possible."
How much did last year's development and training camps benenfit you?
"I think it’s really helped my confidence first and foremost. Everything I’ve learned in Pittsburgh and gaining a little confidence playing with such good players. I took that back to me with London. I thought I made a pretty smooth transition. I thought I used some of the techniques and skills that they taught me back in London. I feel like I’m playing with a lot more confidence and it shows in my game."
What kind of player is Olli Maatta?
"I think I showed him a little bit throughout the year. He didn’t have to ask me too much. He was already so developed and such a great player. The Penguins definitely got a steal when they got him. I thought he’d go top ten for sure. He’s just a kind of all-around two-way defenseman. He does everything really well. He plays with a lot of poise and a lot of confidence."
There are plenty of defensive prospects on this team. Have you thought about the possibility some of you could be traded?
"Personally I hadn't thought about that. It would be nice for us to all stay together but that’s years away. I think for now, we’re all focused on our own games and trying to leave a good impression here in development camp."
Are you more comfortable with the Penguins' system now compared to a year ago?
"I’m definitely a lot more comfortable. There’s just some getting used to. We learned the basics this time last year at training camp. Throughout the rookie tournament, it really stuck in playing in games against opponents. I’ve met all the management, the coaching staff and the trainers. Just being more comfortable around those people makes you feel a lot more at home. They’ve been really welcoming to everybody and that’s definitely helped out a lot."
What's the biggest challenge in learning this system? Terminology, routine, technique?
"Everything. It’s a totally different lifestyle in the NHL. This is just a development camp but it kind of simulates it. Obviously there’s different language, different plays, breakouts, all those kind of things you don’t necessary see in juniors."
How did you feel about your time in the Penguins' 2011 training camp?
"I felt good with my camp. I was pleased with my play and I was fortunate to play in two exhibition games. That was my goal in camp. Just put my best foot forward and hopefully get into some games and show the coaches my stuff. I talked to the coaches and they’re pretty pleased with my camp. I definitely have to keep developing and obviously mature as a player."
Why does London produce so many NHL-caliber defensemen?
"It’s definitely not luck. I think a huge part of it is scouting. London’s got some great scouts. Our (general manager) Mark Hunter, before he took over as coach this year, spent the majority of the year on the road on scouting trips. I think that’s what you need to be successful in juniors. Obviously, London’s had some good defenseman come out of their system recently. I think that’s a testament to their coaching."
(Photo: London Knights)