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Thomas Harley has been a consistent riser on this list as the season has gone on. Playing for the Mississauga Steelheads, his game has shown significant growth at both ends of the ice and he continues to take on a bigger role and more minutes. Overall he put up 11 goals and 47 assists for 58 points in 68 games this year. He also added four assists as the Steelheads were swept in the first round of the OHL playoffs by the Sudbury Wolves.
Harley will be playing for Team Canada at the 2019 IIHF Under-18 World Hockey Championships. Currently, he and his teammates are preparing for the tournament. Last year, he played for Team Canada Black at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. His brother, Stuart, is playing NCAA D-III hockey for the Milwaukee School of Engineering, while his sister, Emilie, is playing NCAA women’s hockey at Robert Morris.
Thomas Harley Scouting Report
Defence — shoots Left
Syracuse, New York
Height 6’3″ — Weight 183 lbs [191 cm / 83 kg]
Harley is a strong two-way defender with good size and skating ability. He has very good speed in both directions. His first few steps and acceleration are outstanding. Harley uses this ability to change speeds to move the puck out of his zone and make plays through the neutral zone. Combine this with his good agility, edgework, and pivots and his skating allows Harley to play a strong game in both ends of the ice. He can beat defenders off the rush, as well as walk the line in the offensive zone to open up shooting and passing lanes. His balance is good and he is strong on the puck. This should improve as he continues to add muscle to his frame.
Harley makes a good first pass out of the zone and can start the transition game. He handles the puck well, especially while moving at top speed. This helps him to rush the puck out of his end and to lead the play in the neutral zone. Harley is also willing to take chances and join the rush as a trailer. He is also able to make smart plays with the puck in the offensive zone. Harley is a creative player. He has good vision and sees plays developing in the offensive zone. He can make passes through tight areas and sets up teammates for good scoring opportunities.
Harley has improved his shot this year and the goals are starting to go in as a result. His slap shot has gotten significantly harder and he uses patience and his agility to open up shooting lanes and get it on net. Harley also keeps his shot low, allowing teammates to get to the net for screens, tip-ins, and rebounds. Harley could improve by sneaking in from the point and letting his wrist shot go more often.
Harley is a solid defensive defenceman. He keeps good gap control and forces defenders to the outside. Harley forces attackers into bad shooting positions and uses his long reach to cut down passing lanes. However, especially quick and shifty forwards can sometimes give him problems one-on-one off the rush, and he must get a little quicker to handle them better. He also has good positioning and reads the play well, helping him to be especially strong in his own end for a 17-year-old. He does not seem to play a physical game at this point despite the fact that he has a good frame. Harley is willing to battle in the corners and in front of the net, but don’t expect too many big hits from him. He needs to get stronger and add muscle to that frame.
Projection and Comparison
Harley will need some time to iron out the defensive wrinkles and continue to get stronger. He has the potential to develop into a strong offensive defenceman, quarterbacking a power play and playing big minutes for his NHL team if he can hit his ceiling. While certainly not a sure thing, there is a chance he could become a top pairing defender in his prime. Harley’s game and style show similarities to Thomas Chabot but this is not a comparison based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Thomas Harley that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Embed from Getty Images
MISSISSAUGA, ON – JANUARY 18: Thomas Harley #48 of the Mississauga Steelheads turns up ice against the Flint Firebirds during OHL game action on January 18, 2019 at Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)