Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Jack Thompson.
A second-round pick, 30th overall, in the 2018 OHL Draft, Sudbury Wolves defenceman Jack Thompson has seen his offensive game take off in his second year in the Ontario Hockey League. After scoring six goals and 10 assists for 16 points in 52 games as an OHL rookie, he put up 13 goals and 19 assists for 32 points in 63 games before the COVID-19 shutdown this year. The breakout seemed to start in the 2019 OHL Playoffs when he scored one goal and four assists for five points in eight games. Thompson saw increased ice time in his second year in the league. He has thrived with this added responsibility including time on the power play and playing against the opposition’s top forward lines.
Thompson also played for Team Canada Red at the Under 17 World Hockey Challenge last year, setting himself up to compete for spots on international teams going forward. He also played in the CHL Top Prospects game, playing for Team White in a 5-2 win. The Courtice, Ontario native grew up playing his junior hockey for the Clarington Toros in the ETAHL. In 2017-18, he scored 17 goals and 21 assists for 38 points in 36 games.
Jack Thompson Scouting Report
Defence — shoots Right
Born March 19th, 2002 — Courtice, Ontario
Height 6’1″ — Weight 178 lbs [185 cm/81 kg]
Thompson plays a strong two-way game based on his excellent mobility. He has good speed in both directions. His first step is quick, as his acceleration. Thompson has the ability to cover 360 degrees of ice. His agility and edgework allow him to move well laterally and accelerate out of his turns. He changes directions on a dime. His pivots are crisp and allow him to quickly transition from offence to defence and vice-versa. Thompson has a strong lower-body that leads to good balance. This helps him to win battles in the corners and in front of the net. As he continues to mature and get stronger, this area of his game should continue to improve.
Thompson uses his strong skating well, as he loves to get forward, joining the rush and even leading it at times through the neutral zone. He needs to make better decisions though. Thompson can sometimes try to skate too much with the puck, getting himself into trouble, choosing to cut to the inside, when he should go outside or vice-versa. He is also able to pinch in from the blue line and his skating is effective in helping him to still get back defensively. Thompson has an excellent slap shot that is a real weapon on the power play. He is also very effective with his one-timer. Thompson can also let go a strong wrist shot with a good release. He can do this by sneaking down to the top of the circle and letting it fly or by getting a drop pass when he joins the rush. His agility also allows him to walk the line and get his shots on the net and through traffic.
Thompson is also a very good passer. He can control the puck at the blue line and shows good poise with it on his stick. His lateral movement allows him to open up passing lanes. He has good vision and can set up a teammate with a dangerous pass and create a scoring chance. Thompson is also effective at making a strong first pass out of the defensive zone, although there are times he tries to be too cute and this leads to turnovers. This ability to start the transition helps him to create offensive opportunities but there is risk there.
Thompson’s good lateral agility makes him tough to beat in one-on-one situations, and he uses an active stick to knock pucks away from defenders. He is much improved in his work along the boards and clearing the front of the net this season, and should continue to get better as he matures and gets stronger. His positioning continues to improve but there is room to get even better. He is effective at using his stick to cut down passing lanes. Thompson is not afraid to block shots, putting his body on the line to make plays.
Projection and Comparison
Thompson can grow into a top-four defender with time. He will need to improve his decision making as he matures. The tools are there to become an important part of a team, but the questions remain about the toolbox. Good coaching and maturity could help him out a lot. He will also need some time in the weight room, continuing to add muscle and strength. Thompson’s game is reminiscent of Nathan Beaulieu. However, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and potential ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Jack Thompson that are available on youtube and twitter.
Jack Thompson with his 1st career OHL goal! ? pic.twitter.com/cKNUhiOxGy
— MGOBlue (@MGOBlue_25) September 29, 2018
The Quinton Byfield Thread
Games Played – 45
Goals – 32
Assists – 50
pNHLe – 111.5
Let's look at the highlights.
Look at that cross ice pass to Jack Thompson. Beautiful set-up. pic.twitter.com/tgP8QNHapS
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) May 3, 2020
#22 Jack Thompson for Sudbury (2020 Draft) showing how to transition the play to offense at the beginning. Then throughout he holds the line, makes quick passes, and doesn’t show much panic in his game. Should be a decent depth player. pic.twitter.com/Z9BYQ1UaSk
— Cameron Friss (@cfriss216) May 3, 2020
?? ROAD TRIPPIN' ??
First stop… Courtice, Ontario… the home of our very own Jack Thompson!
— Sudbury Wolves (@Sudbury_Wolves) June 18, 2019
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Jack Thompson Main Photo:
OSHAWA, ON – FEBRUARY 7: Jack Thompson #22 of the Sudbury Wolves skates during an OHL game against the Oshawa Generals at the Tribute Communities Centre on February 7, 2020 in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)