Significant news today as it turns out captain Jonathan Harty may choose to go to college next season rather than return for his overage season with the Tips. I haven’t gotten ahold of Harty yet to get his comment, but general manager Doug Soetaert confirmed Harty’s considering the possibility.
If Harty did decide to head to college it would be a big blow for Everett. Harty was Everett’s most dependable defenseman last season, the Tips’ leading scorer among d-men, and the team’s leading scorer during the playoffs.
UPDATE, 3:15 p.m.
OK, I’ve talked to Jonathan Harty, and he sounded like someone who’s headed elsewhere. He said he hasn’t made a definitive decision yet, but he’s leaning toward going to college.
The main reason Harty cited for possibly heading to college with a year of WHL eligibility remaining is the lack of professional opportunities he’s received while in Everett. He still wants to be a pro, but since the WHL route hasn’t opened up any pro opportunities, he’s thinking about taking a different approach.
This is surprising to me. I can think of many WHL players who never got much pro attention before their overage seasons, then ended up signing pro contracts following good overage campaigns. Two who come to mind happen to have been exactly in Harty’s shoes. Defensemen Mitch Love and Shaun Heshka were both lightly-regarded players — from a professional standpoint — as 19-year-olds in Everett, both played their overage seasons for the Tips, and both ended up playing in the AHL the following year. In my opinion Harty was at least as good this season as either Love or Heshka were in their 19-year-old seasons.
In contrast, I can’t think of anyone (though there must be someone) who went from the WHL to Canadian college hockey to the NHL.
Harty listed two colleges he’s considering: The University of New Brunswick and Saint Mary’s in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He said he hoped to make a final decision on his future in the next week or so. So continue to stay tuned.