Goodnight and Good Luck – Dan Harris

As the club confirmed on No Holds Bison that the Bison roster is only lacking its last two imports, the Herd roster for 2012/13 is pretty much complete which means saying goodbye the remaining chunk of last year’s Brit corps. In true Banners On The Wall fashion, we bid our farewells as players are announced elsewhere so today is the turn of defenceman Daniel Harris.

 

What have we lost?

In Harris we’ve lost a promising and dedicated British defenceman. Harris, like Sam Zajac before him in Bison colours is not a big man (no way is Dan the 5’11” that Elite Prospects lists him as) but he was a very good defensive player. He wasn’t a massive points scorer but he knew his role and had very good positioning. He stepped up from the ENL where he’d played on a team that had dominated and didn’t look out of place at EPL level. He is also, as has been mentioned all over the place, a shot block blocking machine. Harris is a player who will put his body on the line to stop the puck. I called him the second goalie at times and to be fair that’s pretty accurate in terms of some of his defensive stops at times. The Bison lose a player more than capable of 4th and 5th man minutes at this stage of his career who can hopefully push on to take a full time spot higher up the pecking order somewhere.

 

Where’s he gone?

Dan’s decided to join a small chunk of last year’s roster and has moved to the Thunderdome to join the MK Lightning for 2012/13.

http://www.mk-lightning.com/Latest/Lightning-sign-ambitious-young-defenceman.html

A short and to the point press release that covers the major points. It obviously doesn’t discuss the concussion that limited Dan to 38 games last season but you wouldn’t expect a club’s release on a player they’ve just signed to do that. Playing with players he knows like Nicky Chinn, Chris Wiggins and Stephen Wall will help adjust to his new environs though he arguably looks set to be 5th d man again in a unit that already has Lukas Zatopek, Lewis Christie, Michael Farn and Ross Green. That’s a very solid defensive unit anyway before the addition of Harris so just how much time Dan gets will be interesting to see.

 

Who replaces him?

Stay at home, low points scoring, young British defenceman? I suppose Zach Sullivan is someone who fills that role. As Sullivan and Carl Graham are the likely interchanging at 4 and 5 they will cover bits of Harris’ role between them. Either way I’d say the Bison are covered.

 

Final thoughts

When I spoke to Bison fans at the tail end of last season, the inevitable conversation always started; who do you want back? Many people gave similar answers about who they wanted back (Reynolds and Miller) and who they didn’t but one player split the opinions a bit. That player was Dan Harris. Some felt he was too small, some felt he wasn’t good enough for the EPL, many just felt we could upgrade on him.

I personally like Dan as a player and did want him back but I understand that Coach Sheppard decided to go in a different direction.

Harris was my kind of defensive player; hard working, went about his job with minimal fuss but was always prepared to do anything to make sure the puck didn’t go into the net. Now obviously that was an issue for the Bison last season (insert last season’s BOTW buzz phrase ‘team defence’ here) but it wasn’t for want of trying on Harris’ part.

The obvious criticism levelled at Harris is his lack of size, both in terms of height and bulk does mean that he can get muscled off the puck at times. It’s a fair comment he’s not the same height and width as Marcel Petran but Dan’s strengths lie in his heart, dedication and very importantly as he’s a defenceman his positioning. Now he’s not perfect and did get caught out, all players do but he was arguably one of the better defensively responsible players on the Bison roster last season.

It’s obviously a shame that he missed a chunk of time due to concussion and hopefully that’s passed but he’s in very good company in that MK defensive unit. I don’t think he gets top 3 minutes but he goes into a very good rotation with players like Lukas Zatopek who is arguably the best defenceman in the EPL and very good British players who I’d happily have at the Bison in a heartbeat.

All the best Dan, hopefully it works out for you.

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