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Penguins prospect Harrington has high hopes

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By Josh Yohe
Sunday, July 14, 2013, 11:27 p.m.
 

Scott Harrington is almost certain to begin the 2013-14 season playing for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Penguins' AHL affiliate.

That reality isn't stopping him from having bigger dreams.

Harrington, the Penguins' second-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, is perhaps the organization's most cerebral defensive prospect and believes his experience in high-pressure situations has accelerated his path to Pittsburgh.

He can take another step toward the NHL with a strong showing at the Penguins' prospect camp, which starts Tuesday at Consol Energy Center.

“We think Scott can become a high-caliber NHL player,” said Tom Fitzgerald, the Penguins' assistant to the general manager.

“We think he's got a chance to play a long time in Pittsburgh.”

Harrington, 20, doesn't figure to have any problem dealing with the pressure of making an NHL team. He has already performed well under bright lights.

Harrington has represented Team Canada on four occasions, playing in 24 games. He also has participated in 54 Ontario Hockey League playoff games while captaining the powerhouse London Knights.

“Whether it's playing for Team Canada or playing in the Memorial Cup final, I think playing in those kinds of atmospheres has been great for me,” Harrington said. “Of course, I want to be in the NHL this season. I think you have to set your goals high if you want to attain them.”

London coach Dale Hunter, who briefly left the Knights to coach the Washington Capitals during the 2011-12 season before returning to the OHL, has a history of turning his junior players into quality professionals. Stars like Chicago's Patrick Kane, Anaheim's Corey Perry and the New York Islanders' John Tavares have played in London over the past decade.

“They teach you how to win in London,” Harrington said. “I had many chats with Dale about forming my own identity as a hockey player.”

What is that identity?

Many scouts have compared him to stay-at-home defenseman Rob Scuderi, an integral member of the Penguins' 2008-09 Stanley Cup team. Scuderi recently returned to the Penguins after spending four seasons with Los Angeles, where he won a second Cup in 2011-12.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Harrington isn't flashy. He also doesn't display any notable weakness, and many in the Penguins' organization believe he has the look of a steady NHL defenseman.

“There are similarities,” Fitzgerald said. “The pride. The way they play without the puck. The attention to detail. We like Scott a lot.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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