Tage Thompson Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #29

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TopShelfProspectsTage Thompson had a solid freshman season for the University of Connecticut Huskies, putting up 14 goals and 18 assists for 32 points in 34 games. The huge centreman was able to go to college early as he was a late 1997 birthdate. It was a real breakout year for Thompson as he was coming off a season where he played more of a checking line role with the US National Team Development Program where he put up 26 points in 64 games, and just one point in seven games at the IIHF Under 18 World Championships, helping the American squad to a gold medal. Tage Thompson has good bloodlines as his father Brent Thompson was a second round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 1989 and played 121 career NHL games, as well as having a journeyman AHL career. He is the head coach of the New York Islanders AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. His younger brother, Tyce Thompson, is set to play for the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints next season.

Tage Thompson Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #29

Centre/Right Wing — shoots Right
Born Oct 30 1997 — Oyster Bay, NY
Height 6’05” — Weight 185 lbs [188 cm/73 kg]

At 6’5″ tall Tage Thompson has the size, and uses it to his full advantage in playing a power forward’s game. He is often the first one in on the forecheck, pressuring defenders into mistakes. He works very well down low, below the hashmarks, cycling the puck and getting to the front of the net. Once there he can tip in pucks, pounce on rebounds, or fire in a pass from a teammate. Thompson also has an excellent one timer, and a strong wrist shot with a good release, allowing him to score from further out. While his stickhandling is good, and Thompson protects the puck well using his body on the cycle, he is a straight ahead kind of player, going directly from point a to point b, and not one to try overly creative plays. His assists mainly come from hard work in the corners, digging out loose pucks and making smart, safe passes to teammates.

Thompson’s defensive game is excellent. He understands defensive positioning, and uses his long stick and big body to cut down passing and shooting lanes. He is fundamentally solid and very well-developed in his own end, no doubt as a result of being a coach’s son. Thompson has even been used as a defenceman on the penalty kill at Connecticut as his frame is particularly effective down low in his own end as well. Thompson plays a physical game, but he does so with clean hits; as he doesn’t take a lot of penalties. He could stand to gain muscle and strength in all areas, he has grown quite a bit since we first saw him with the US NTDP, and has not quite filled out his frame.  That should come with time.

Thompson’s skating is a bit of a work in progress, but isn’t that bad given his size, and the fact he is still adjusting to the growth spurt. His speed is decent, but the first step and acceleration could use a little work.  He could stand to clean up some choppiness in his stride. Thompson could also stand to add core strength as he could improve his balance and be stronger on the puck.

Thompson mainly played right wing with Connecticut, but has the versatility to play centre as he sometimes did with the US NTDP.  With his size and his smarts, he might be able to play centre at the next level, but the question will be if he has the playmaking skills and skating skills to play in the middle. He might be better off as a goal scoring, two way winger. Thompson’s style is reminiscent of James van Reimsdyk but this is a stylistic comparison and not one based on talent.

The following is a compilation of Tage Thompson highlights, taken from youtube.

Check back tomorrow for the #30 prospect on our NHL Draft board.

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