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Top 10 at 10: Harley & York

...a weeklong preview of the best players Vancouver could select 10th overall

by Ryan Biech @ryanbiech / Freelance writer

We continue to breakdown 10 options for the Canucks at the 10th overall selection.

Earlier this week, we have looked at the following players:

Now, we turn our attention back to the blueline.

Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram is the consensus top defenceman in this draft class, but there are a bunch of names that could be called as the second defenceman off the board. The previously profiled Soderstrom and Broberg could very well be that player on June 21st. But there are a couple of defencemen who played on this side of the pond that may also hear their names called after Byram.

Let's dive into one Canadian born defender and the top defenceman on the United States National Team Development Program.

Thomas Harley

Watch: Youtube Video

The Mississauga Steelheads defenceman saw his stock rise over the course of the second half of the season. He concluded the OHL season with 58 points (11-47-58) in 68 games, which was good enough for 8th among all OHL defenceman scoring. That number led all draft eligible OHL defenceman and was second only to Bowen Byram in the entire CHL for first time draft eligible defencemen.

Harley represented Canada at the U18 World Juniors, where he had one goal and three assists in seven games.

Harley was named the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year and named to the OHL Third All-Star Team.

The 6'3" and 192 lbs defender is also one of the youngest players in this draft class, which makes his rise up the draft rankings even more impressive.

Like so many defencemen in this draft class, Harley is a gifted skater that has the ability to make an impact in all three zones. The Steelheads leaned on him heavily as their number one defenceman in all situations. He saw time on the powerplay, penalty kill, protecting a lead and when they needed a goal and all while posting positive underlying numbers.

His strongest attributes are his ability to move the puck to his teammates and willingness to carry the puck through the neutral zone. Those might seem counterintuitive, but it forced opponents to stay on their toes any time Harley had the puck.

Defensively, Harley displays an active stick to disrupt passing lanes and force opponents to move the puck. There are some other attributes to his defensive play that could use some rounding out, but given where he started the year at and where he ended, there is no reason to be concerned. Add the fact that the Steelheads were going through a year of transition and his extremely positive play in the second half of the season should be the expectation going forward.

Given his late birthday in this draft class, Harley still has some areas to improve physically and round out his game. But he took so many positive strides this year that you can't help but figure he will continue an upward trajectory from this point onwards.

Cam York

Watch: Youtube Video

With all that offensive talent on the US National Team Development Program, there had to be a defenceman there to get the puck to them and often it was Cam York.

Like Harley, York is just an efficient defenceman who makes the right play so often.

The California born blueliner ended the season with 14 goals and 51 assists in 63 games and then followed that up with 11 points (4-7-11) in seven games at the U18 World Juniors. He led all defencemen this year in the program in goals, assists, and points. His 65 points are the most by any defenceman in the history of the program and is the first NDTP player to register seven points in one USHL game.

So, the kid can generate offence.

York is a fantastic skater that combines agility, acceleration, and speed to allow him to create offence in a variety of ways. He is also a great shooter that possesses excellent instincts when trying to attack the opponents net. He can dish the puck with ease, use that great shot, or wheel around the zone to force opponents to scramble.

He can transition the puck through all the three zones with ease and then defer to a teammate with speed. York has a multi-faceted offensive game that can be equally electrifying as it is controlled. He just seems to know how to make the most of the chances in the offensive zone.

His skating abilities allow him to thrive defensively as well.

If he is engaged in a one-on-one battle with a player, he will almost certainly come away on the right side of the duel.  

The major concerns to his game are that although he has all the tools to be an effective defenceman and shows them quite regularly, he isn't as assertive as you would like. Furthermore, he can add some strength throughout his frame to be even more effective.

York will head to the University of Michigan for the 2019-20 campaign.

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