Boise, ID (8/31/17) – Steelheads Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Neil Graham announced on Thursday that defenseman Aaron Harstad will be back in Boise, with the Steelheads agreeing to terms with the third-year defenseman on an ECHL contract for the 2017-18 season.
Harstad, 25, joined the Steelheads last season as part of a trade on February 8th with the Norfolk Admirals, after having represented the Admirals in the ECHL All-Star Classic earlier in the season. A seventh-round draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets in 2011, Harstad scored three goals, posted 13 points, and earned a plus-13 rating in 20 regular season games with Idaho, also earning a two-game call-up to the American Hockey League’s Texas Stars.
In 53 ECHL games last season with Norfolk and Idaho, the Stevens Point, Wisconsin native totaled five goals and 25 points. He also scored two goals in five playoff games, earning his first professional multi-goal game in Game 4 of the Mountain Division Semifinals against Colorado.
“Aaron is an extremely determined player, and his work ethic and commitment to his craft are second to none,” said Graham.
Harstad posted a minus-rating in only one of his 20 games with the Steelheads. Following his arrival in Idaho, Harstad scored more points than any other Steelheads defenseman and the team held a record of 18-6-0.
“Acquiring Aaron before the deadline last season helped propel us to a winning streak at a crucial point of the year,” said Graham. “We’re thrilled to have his steady physical play back on our blue line.”
Harstad spent his rookie season in 2015-16 split between the Tulsa Oilers and AHL Manitoba, playing 14 games with the Oilers and 26 games with the Moose. Harstad also played five games with AHL St. John’s at the end of the 2014-15 campaign, following his senior season at Colorado College. Harstad has registered four assists in 33 career AHL games with St. John’s, Manitoba, and Texas. He has totaled seven goals and 33 points in 67 ECHL games with Tulsa, Norfolk, and Idaho.
The 6-foot-2 defenseman played four seasons of college hockey at Colorado College. In 127 games, Harstad totaled nine goals and 30 points.