Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Age Of Harley
Has the young defender's time come 'round at last? Saad Yousuf examines the case.
It's no secret that Dallas Stars fans were hoping for more of a splash at the 2023 NHL trade deadline. Specifically, they were hoping for a name-brand blueliner to shore up the prospect of bringing another Stanley Cup back to Big D.
Now it's beginning to look as if the front office knew what it was doing. Can Thomas Harley not only keep up at the NHL level, but raise the entire team's playoffs expectations?
The Athletic's Saad Yousuf took a good look at how the 21-year-old defender has done work during his latest call-up:
Harley showed the tangible tools that made him a first-round pick. His skating was sublime; defensively in breaking up plays, and offensively in joining the rush. He was smooth in breaking out the puck, and his deep outlet passes were crisp. He also showed off the intangible things, many of which he gained throughout his fantastic season in the AHL this season. The anticipation in reading plays before they happened and the unmistakable poise that has become his trademark for anybody that’s gotten to know him.
Much of what transpired in the Stars’ 4-1 win over the Flyers at the American Airlines Center was par for the course. Jason Robertson scored another couple of goals, Joe Pavelski added one of his own, [Miro] Heiskanen tallied another point and [Jake] Oettinger was great. But what Harley showed Thursday was the real story. Because if this is what the Stars are going to get regularly from him, their ceiling in the playoffs elevates instantly.
And Harley himself sounds pretty confident that he can handle the pressure:
“Experience? I don’t know,” Harley said. “I mean, I’ve been playing this game for a whole lot of years. There isn’t much I haven’t seen out there. I know it’s a new league, but I’ve done this in every other league to get here. It’s still hockey.”
Of course, that’s not how this always works out. Plenty of players come up through the ranks, but adjusting to the NHL game is a different story. It’s still too early — two games against non-playoff teams — to crown Harley for this season, but there’s no question he looks ready for the pace and style of the NHL.
There's much more behind the paywall, including Saad's breakdowns of some of Harley's best plays of the week. [The Athletic DFW]
Honestly, will you be surprised at all if Jason Robertson scores five more goals in the next four games? Isn't that, like, lunchtime for him?
The players are taking names and breaking records, but the whole team has set some new markers, too.
Around The Leagues
#Murder Was The Case
- Penguins are more dangerous when they're fighting for a wildcard spot, as the Minnesota Wild discovered in last night's 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh. [NHL]
- The Nashville Predators, fighting for pride, blanked the Carolina Hurricanes with a 33-save performance from Juuse Saros. [On The Forecheck]
- The St. Louis Blues continued their own revenge tour with a 3-2 overtime win over the New York Rangers. [NHL]
- The woebegone Chicago Blackhawks tripped up in a 3-0 loss to those well-established #MDK spoilers, the Vancouver Canucks. [Second City Hockey]
- A Mikko Rantanen hat trick powered the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. [Mile High Hockey]
And the Seattle Kraken got the happy ending they were hoping for last year, clinching their first playoffs berth in their second season over the Arizona Coyotes.
Last night was a big one for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Steven Stamkos.
Tomorrow will be a big day for the NHL in all sorts of ways – including this one.
Meanwhile, Denis Gurianov's abstention from the Pride Night warmup for "family reasons" highlights what we don't know about the pressures Russian players currently face from back home.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Should the Texas Stars do an entire calendar of this year's bluebonnet pics? Y/N
And yet not nearly enough Pantera in this video. Play the whole thing, Stars!