The Montreal Canadiens defenceman was invited to join Team USA for the IIHF World Championships earlier this month and hasn’t played a game for them, and we now know why.
According to Chris Peters, NHL Draft Analyst for Daily Faceoff, Harris was initially invited by USA Hockey officials, but was ultimately never officially registered by the club. It’s not an uncommon practice for teams to wait before registering their final players at the World’s, as teams regularly leave some roster spots open for NHL players to join their ranks after being eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That’s exactly what happened in this case, as Hockey USA saw fit to invite the Minnesota Wild‘s Matt Boldy, Ryan Hartman and Jon Merrill, as well as the Boston Bruins’ Jeremy Swayman.
In registering these other players in an attempt to boost their forward ranks, in the case of Boldy and Hartman, USA Hockey left Harris off of their final roster, making him ineligible to appear with fellow Montreal Canadiens prospect Sean Farrell in the Red White and Blue. The irony of the situation is that Team USA has been playing their last three games with only five defencemen due to injuries Caleb Jones, Nick Blankenburg and could now use Harris on their blueline. To add insult to injury, Team USA announced Saturday morning that Jaycob Megna was also injured and would only be playing with four regular defencemen in their next game against Finland. Team USA will be having forwards taking regular reps on the blueline to compensate for the loss of these three defencemen, as they can no longer add to their roster; even in due to injury.
It’s an unfortunate outcome for all involved, but it remains a great experience for the young Montreal Canadiens defenceman to be in the international environment and soak it all in.
They decided not to register him in order to add more scoring help when guys got eliminated from the playoffs. Ended up adding three forwards instead of him. Then immediately lost two D to injury.
— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) May 28, 2022