Mississauga Steelheads defenceman Thomas Harley taken with the 18th overall pick by the Dallas Stars in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft
As the first round of the NHL Draft took place in Vancouver, anticipation was high among many prospects in the crowd. With the 18th overall pick, it was the Dallas Stars turn at the podium.
“With the 18th pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Dallas Stars select from the Mississauga Steelheads, Thomas Harley.”
Harley, a native of Syracuse, New York impressed NHL personnel and drew praise from multiple scouting sources with his development throughout this past season. NHL Central Scouting had Harley 9th amongst North American Skaters in their Midterm rankings and 11th in their final prospect rankings. TSN’s Bob McKenzie had Harley 17th on his list prior to the draft; the highest amongst any OHL player. Fellow TSN analyst Craig Button ranked the left-shot defenceman 11th and Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet had him being selected at 22nd overall.
Harley had a tremendous year on the ice leading to a rise in his draft stock. In October, the 17-year old was one of only ten defencemen selected to represent team OHL in the 2018 CIBC Canada Russia Series. At the conclusion of the 2018-19 regular season, he was awarded MVP of the Steelheads for his lead role on the blue line. After his first season earning 15 points (1 goal, 14 assists) in 62 games, the sophomore’s offensive output drastically improved finishing third on the team with 58 points (11 goals, 47 assists) in 68 games. Harley also finished 8th among all defenceman in the OHL for overall points and 4th among defencemen in total assists. Most recently, Harley was also named a Third-Team All-Star by the Ontario Hockey League.
In April, Harley was also selected to represent Canada at the U-18 World Championships. The Steelheads defenceman wasn’t new to wearing a Team Canada jersey, having suited up with Team Canada Black at the 2017 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. Harley’s free-wheeling and smooth skating style translated well onto the large ice surface in Ornskoldsvik and Umea, Sweden. He registered 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists) over 7 games finishing tied for 7th in scoring amongst Team Canada skaters for the tournament.
To compliment his on ice accomplishments, Harley was the recipient of the Bobby Smith Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year. He earned the honour for his academic achievements in the classroom combined with his on-ice excellence for the Mississauga Steelheads.
Harley in his interview mentioned the influence both his parents have had in getting him to this point. First he was asked about his father. “He’s been huge for me. He was my coach growing up and my role model. He’s taught me almost everything I know about the game and he’s one of my best friends so its great.” Harley was then asked about his mother. “She’s the anchor in our house…she’s been there for me my entire life and been one of my biggest supporters if not the biggest…”
Along with Thomas Harley getting drafted at pick number 18 by the Dallas Stars, two other Steelheads draft picks were selected in the first round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Jack Hughes was taken first overall by the New Jersey Devils and Trevor Zegras was selected ninth overall by the Anaheim Ducks.
Was the 6th defencemen chosen in the draft
Was the 6th Canadian chosen in the draft
Became the fifth Steelhead to be taken in the first round
1st Round #10 – Owen Tippett (Florida Panthers)
1st Round #8 – Alexander Nylander (Buffalo Sabres)
1st Round #12 – Michael McLeod (New Jersey Devils)
1st Round #25 – Stuart Percy (Toronto Maple Leafs)