The Dallas Stars have signed Thomas Harley to a three-year entry-level contract, inking the young defenseman after selecting him 18th overall just a few months ago. Harley has actually still not been cut from training camp by the Stars, though he is expected to play for the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL this season.
Harley, 18, recorded an outstanding season in 2018-19 with the Steelheads in his second year of junior hockey, scoring 11 goals and 58 points in 68 games. The smooth-skating defenseman can impact the game in several different ways, including an aggressive gap control style of defense that limits zone entries and can break a cycle. That kind of all-around play is exactly what the Stars have already discovered in Miro Heiskanen, and Harley carries some of the same traits as his potential future teammate. Not only did he perform well for Mississauga, but Harley also stood out on the international stage with Canada at the U18 World Juniors and was named the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year, an award given to the player who best combines success on the ice with success in school.
If he is sent back to junior for this season, Harley’s contract would slide forward and not kick in this season. That could actually happen in 2020-21 as well, though with the poise he has already shown at training camp he could compete for a roster spot before long.