Thomas Harley was drafted 18th overall in 2019 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars. Well, they tried to. Franchise owner Tom Gaglardi asked his father and senior owner to announce the draft pick and fumbled the intro drafting “Harley, Thomas.” It’s been smooth sailing for Harley since his name fumble as the rookie defenseman is taking the unique situation of a Covid ridden season to make a leap to the NHL roster.
Harley most recently wrapped up a silver medal campaign with team Canada in the World Juniors Championship Tournament where he collected one point on one goal. While his statistics weren’t hefty or flashy, Harley showed a vast maturity on the ice during the tournament. They say if you hear a players name often it’s due to too many mistakes, or being in the right place at the right time. Luckily for Harley and the Stars he was often in the right place at the right time.
At 19 years of age Harley is no small kid coming into the league. Standing at 6 feet 3 inches, Harley finds himself in a situation to stand above most. The Stars franchise has found themselves in unique situation on defense as the covid-19 virus swept through seemingly half of the team. The position that saw the most players effected was at the blue line. Meaning the door has officially been left open for Harley to see some time at the NHL level.
While most expect Harley to settle in the AHL, a dose of the game at the highest level could serve the former first round draft pick well. It leaves that fire to return burning, in the event he even gets sent back down. (Fingers crossed.) The season is set to begin on January 22nd in Dallas. As of Sunday, Miro Heiskanen and Jamie Oleksiak are officially back on the ice. Harley was tucked in on the fourth line with veteran Andrej Sekera. If all things continue on this trajectory and we see Harley continuing to get reps with the first grouping, that door to the NHL may have a doorstop in place. Leaving Harley and the Stars to see what their future together looks like.