Jay Harrison is a member of the Winnipeg Jets because the Jets defence decided that featuring actual NHL defenders was overrated mid-season and decided that injuries were better than player playing. Enter Jay Harrison. With the days ticking away before the holiday trade freeze, Kevin Cheveldayoff brought in reinforcements and the first outside player he brought in was Harrison. Harrison was an inexpensive buy and while his cap hit is not that big the fact his contract runs into next year could be detrimental.
Harrison is a seventh defenceman. He is cheap and he gets the job done; just not reliably. Put him in for a few games though and he can successfully do some things without failing wildly. Issue is, if he is not with the right partner, he fails wildly. This is what happened to Harrison when he played last season. He was often used alongside Adam Pardy, who is fine in his own right, but like Harrison he looks more successful when playing alongside a better player.
Jay Harrison is an interesting player because he generates a lot. He also gets a zone start push, which makes his CorsiFor numbers look less impressive and his CorsiAgainst numbers look more ghastly. Harrison is cheap help though and those types of players should not be counted on to be much good. The fact that Harrison can help offensively is a positive sign. The fact that he needs a zone push and is still horrid defensively is a bad sign. Harrison is not an everyday player, though he is a good option as a 7/8 defender who can play when called upon.
Harrison has one more year on his contract and though the Jets could move him to free up some space, they do not have to. Instead, they can send him to the AHL if needed and call him up if injuries lead to the need. The other option is to let Harrison sit in the press-box as a 7/8 guy on the depth chart and let younger players get playing time in the AHL. This may be the best option unless the Jets can get a guy to play that role for less than a million dollars and can move Harrison to a different team or to the AHL and save most of his contract.
After this season, he should be gone. The Jets could even explore moving him in season if there are players in the AHL who can handle his minutes or improve the team. There is room for a player like Harrison: cheap veteran, on almost every team in the NHL. As long as the Jets do not fall in love with him, all should end well for both player and management.