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Maple Leafs' Top 25 Under 25: #23 Scott Harrington

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Acquired in the Phil Kessel trade, 22-year-old Scott Harrington makes his debut in this year's Top 25 Under 25.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Expectations were high when news broke that the Leafs had made a deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins for Phil Kessel. Many thought the haul would be astounding, and likely got excited at the chance to acquire one of Olli Maatta or Derrick Pouliot, two budding young prospects.

Instead, the immediate reaction was largely negative to a package that was built around high-flying winger Kasperi Kapanen and former London Knights captain Scott Harrington.

Despite the negative backlash, and the connections to the trade that will live on with the aftermath of the Kessel deal, Harrington has accomplished much at a young age.

The Pedigree

As an OHL rookie in 2009-2010, Harrington quickly played his way into a major role with the Knights, earning OHL First All-Rookie Team honours alongside Ryan Murphy, Gabriel Landeskog, Boone Jenner and Matt Puempel.

Later that year, he continued to impress as one of the best young players in junior hockey, playing on Canada's first pairing on route to a U17 silver medal and another All-Star Team nod, this time alongside Alexander Khoklachev, Rocco Grimaldi, Reece Scarlett and Joel Armia.

In his draft year, Harrington continued to find success on a London Knights team in transition, finishing second among the team's defensemen in scoring before his 54th overall selection by the Penguins and a Hlinka Memorial gold with Canada.

Returning to London for his post-draft season, Harrington saw a considerable jump in his offensive production on one of the OHL's best pairings with Maatta, where he outscored his partner with a 40-point 68-game pace on the OHL's best regular season team (49-18-0-1) on route to an OHL Championship -- after already having captured a World Junior Championship bronze medal at Christmas time.

Despite lacking the near-point per game production of a player like Cody Ceci, Harrington was named to the OHL's First All-Star Team in his first season as a Penguins Prospect, this time alongside Dougie Hamilton, Tyler Toffoli, Mike Sgarbossa, and Brandon Saad,

A year later Harrington was familiarly named to another yet another OHL First All-Star Team alongside Ryan Sproul, Vincent Trochek, Reid Boucher and Seth Griffith while playing upwards of every other shift for the Knights, despite finishing 60th in scoring among defensemen. In doing so, Harrington joined the likes of Drew Doughty, Ryan Ellis and Al MacInnis as one of a handful of OHL defenders to ever be named a two-time First Team All-Star.

This time, he did it as the team's captain, capping off a four-year OHL career with an incredibly heavy workload, having played top pairing minutes since midway through his rookie season.

In his rookie season as a professional in 2013-2014, Harrington finished second among Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins defenders in scoring with 24 points on a relatively low scoring AHL team (20th with 206 goals for).

Following a natural progression curve, Harrington was awarded his first stint in the NHL as an AHL sophomore, playing in 10 games for Pittsburgh in 2014-2015, burning a year of his entry level contract in the process, bouncing between the AHL and NHL on 11 occasions -- including one at year's end for the playoffs.

Harrington is a player we charted, he had a real good year in the American League, his 10 games up with Pittsburgh he was really, really good by our measures in those games. - Kyle Dubas

In his limited time in Pittsburgh, despite going scoreless, Harrington was a strong possession player with a 52.94 CF% (or SAT%), starting 61.11% of his shifts in the offensive zone.

The Player

As a player, Harrington is a workhorse, playing in all situations at every level he's played in big roles.

"He's probably the most hardworking, mature person I've ever met," former teammate Max Domi said on Sportsnet590 The FAN, yesterday.

At 6-2 and over 200 Ibs, Harrington is a strong, two-way defensemen who uses an active stick to break up plays or close gaps. Not an overly physical defender, Harrington uses his strength to win puck battles and rub players out rather than lay the devastating hit.

Lacking the booming slapshot of some of the league's other highly touted defensive prospects, Harrington often opts for a low, heads-up snapshot from the blueline, corralling the puck laterally to find an open lane. When he uses his full wind up on a slapshot, it's equally as effective at finding its way to the net, creating a ton of rebounds or opportunities for teammates on redirects and tips. Again, he almost always shoots low.

A left-handed shot, Harrington's wrister is highlighted by the now common off-foot leg kick.

Notice how he immediately receives the puck and attacks in the below video, taking a couple of strides into open space before lifting his head for the leg-kicked shot and goal.

Not a high-flying skater, Harrington uses above average stickhandling to weave over the blueline, unafraid to carry it deep into the offensive zone if the opportunity presents itself -- he's not one to take a ton of risks, so when he carries the puck, he's generally successful.

If he can improve his skating, he's got the potential to be a steady NHL defensemen who won't blow you away but is efficient in managing the game with and without the puck.

Here's how the voting panned out, with all but three of our writers ranking him inside their top-25, with myself and JP Nikota ranking him highest at No. 17.

If Harrington starts off strong with the Marlies and impresses new head coaches Mike Babcock or Sheldon Keefe, it won't be long before he's one of the first in line for a call-up.