5Tim Harrison headshot
Photo Credit: Courtesy Calgary Flames/NHL Media

Prospect wrap-up: Tim Harrison

We’re at the time of the year where in every passing week, players will simply stop playing hockey. Their season has ended, and nothing they do will matter ever again (until September/October-ish).

As that happens, we’ll be recapping, breaking down, and analyzing the performances of the various Flames prospects. Let’s start with Tim Harrison, unfortunately eliminated from the ECAC tournament this weekend. What could the Flames do with the 2013 sixth round pick?

A quick history

Drafted out of Dexter High School in the sixth round of the 2013 draft, Harrison was always going to be a long-shot prospect. You don’t find many players in the sixth round who are worth a damn, so you have to put some work in to best load the odds in your favour. If you have to bet on something, might as well bet on a winner.

Jay Feaster took a bet that a player in his draft +1 year who was third on his high school team for scoring and headed for an NCAA hockey minnow would perhaps turn into something. That was not a great bet.

Throughout his four years at Colgate, Harrison endured quite a bit of suffering. In his first year, the Raiders made the ECAC tournament finals and their first NCAA tournament appearance in nine years, losing in the first game of their region. Harrison only had five points that year, but things appeared to be looking up. The next season, the Raiders made the ECAC finals again, losing to Harvard, but the biggest sting was being rejected for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Harrison doubled his points production that year, scoring 11 in 37 games.

For his upperclassmen years, Harrison and the Raiders struggled quite a bit. Promoted to top six duty in his junior year, Harrison hit 17 points in 36 games, but the Raiders limped to a 11-24-2 season. His senior year was a moderate personal improvement, with 20 points in 37 games, but the Raiders couldn’t even pick up 10 wins, finishing 9-22-6.

2016-17 performance

GP-G-A-P Primary Points 5v5 P1 NHLe
37-11-9-20 19 11 10.19

Relative to his team, Harrison was quite good. As a minutes-munching first liner, he was the team’s leading goal scorer (11, nearly double of the next closest, who had six), and was involved in 30% of the team’s goals in all situations. All but one of his points was primary. He even plays with a physical edge, the benefit of being 6’3″, and racked up 53 PIM, leading all forwards. Those are all good things, right?

Unfortunately, it’s all small potatoes.

Harrison improved from the year before, but he didn’t improve in major leaps and bounds. Even with more ice time than the year before, he was only able to add three more points in one more game. Considering his age, that difference is mostly negligible. You should expect a 23-year-old senior to improve.

I’ll be experimenting with rolling average NHLe, one of the benefits of tracking this stuff week-by-week, in these prospect wrap-ups.  NHLe can be heavily influenced by  good or bad periods, and the final number, while encompassing a large sample size, may not be truly reflective of a player’s season. What I think the rolling average does is filter out a lot of the noise that can influence that number.

From what I read into the rolling average, it appears that Harrison’s average form was better than his 2015-16 campaign for the majority of the season. However, the rolling average also suggests that he was only as good as his final NHLe indicates for only a smidge of the season, right around week 14. Even if you still see some value in that 10.19 number, he’s only really lived up to it at one point in the season.

Final thoughts

Harrison has some interesting numbers and definitely some offensive upside. As a bigger guy and a right-handed shot, it seems like the Flames could still have some interest in him. Knowing what type of players they like, I imagine that he could get an ATO from Stockton. Maybe if he plays with better teammates, his potential could be on full display.

However, I wouldn’t imagine the team goes further than that, if they even go that far. They let a better player in Matt DeBlouw walk the year before, and he’s since been an alright player in the ECHL. That does not bode well for Harrison. He’s the best player on a bad team in the worst conference.

Realistically, he is a similar prospect to Hunter Smith or Austin Carroll. At some point, the organization will determine that they have enough of players of that ilk.

  • everton fc

    Austin Carroll is by far a better prospect than Hunter Smith. In fact, I’d say Smith is not much of a prospect these days, as he can’t skate or score. Carroll can do both, one goal behind Shinkaruk as I type. He can also handle himself physically. To compare Harrison w/Carroll is off base. To compare Harrison to Smith is much more honest. Regardless, he’ may get an ATO from Stockton (I doubt he will, actually) and the rest will be minor, in terms of “news”…

    • The Doctor

      Smith is not going to make the NHL, but equating him with this guy is not fair to Smith. I watched Smith in juniors, and he was an effective player with some decent offensive upside. He used his big reach to some advantage. Smith was more productive than this guy and played in a tougher league. Agree about his lack of speed though.

  • redwhiteblack

    One of many lottery tickets that don’t pan out. It’s so hard to land talent in most drafts. It is a crap shoot after about the 10th-15th pick overall. Luck of the draw on who has the talent to rise above. Scouting is often trumped by how the person matures or not as a player.