Defenseman Peter Harrold was brought back to the New Jersey Devils because he has a skill that not many hockey players have: the ability to sit for a whole month and then play 20 minutes the next night. He is the type of player that most teams love to have. He is unselfish. He has a team-first mentality. That is why the Devils gave him a two-year contract last offseason.
It is always hard to grade the seasons of the role players. Harrold was exactly what many expected him to be, but he did not do anything beyond those expectations. There was a point early in the season (mostly in November) where he looked like a very good defenseman. Then he was knocked out of the lineup with an elbow injury. He only played one game in December and January before being activated to return on February 3.
Over the rest of the season, he found himself in and out of the lineup while the Devils fought their way up the Metropolitan Division. He only recorded four points on the season. He focused mainly on keeping the puck out of the net rather than putting it into the net. This could be excused in most seasons, but the Devils relied on the defense to help generate scoring and Harrold did nothing to add to that.
Nobody expected him to be Marek Zidlicky out there, but only four assists in 33 games is not enough.
Looking back, Harrold had a decent season. The problem is that it started off looking like he could be a breakout player on the blue line. Injuries sent him back to a place where he was comfortable: the owner’s box. He didn’t surprise, but he also didn’t disappoint. We have all learned that he could have been much worse. He played a role, and he played it well.
Season grade: B-