2022 Tampa Bay Lightning Top 25 Under 25: #7 Jack Thompson

I’m a Jack Thompson guy. Let’s get rid of it now. Of the seven writers who voted this year, I had Thompson rated the highest (5). I have been inflating his tires since the start of last season. Now is the time to see if it can live up to the hype.

It’s been a standout season for the 20-year-old Ontario defenseman. He started the season strong as Sudbury’s captain, winning OHL Player of the Week honors in the first week of the season. He continued to rack up the points and was named the OHL Defender of the Month for October with four goals and 12 assists for Wolves.

The strong start to the season made him a somewhat surprising invitation to Team Canada’s national junior camp, but a COVID outbreak among Wolves prevented him from attending. A month later, his Sudbury career would come to an end as he was negotiated to the Soo Greyhounds for a few players

Once he adapted to his new team’s style of play, he picked up where he left off with Sudbury, which was playing in all aspects of the game and accumulating points. While offensive production gets a lot of attention, Thompson is considered a two-man defender who won’t get in the way of his team in his own zone.

John Dean, his trainer in Sault Ste. Mayor put it this way:

“He’s so stable. He regularly plays 25-27 minutes a night and doesn’t make many mistakes. It’s a one-man escape pass. He is very aware of his surroundings in the defensive zone. He can carry the puck if you want and he can pass the puck if you want. He can hammer the puck on the blue line if you want, he can walk on the blue line if you want. He’s just a very versatile defender and the scary thing is that I think there’s more to it. He is working on being even more assertive. His hockey IQ and his versatility as a player and all the different weapons he brings, it’s pretty special.

The postponement of the U20 World Junior Championships until August proved beneficial for Thompson as he was able to join Team Canada where he registered one goal and three assists in seven games as they won the gold medal .

Now that he’s done with junior hockey, we’ll see if his game translates to the pro level. He has shown that he can skate well for a defenseman and has a great shot. As a rookie in the AHL, he may not see much time on the power play at the start of the season (especially with Syracuse already having veteran options to run the point), but that could change if he shows. to Ben Groulx that he deserves time on the special teams unit.

Although scoring from the blue line is his calling card, Thompson is also a responsible player on his side. It’s still important in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. Corey Pronman at Athleticism rated both his shooting and hockey sense as above NHL average. Pronman isn’t as sold on Thompson’s skating, but we all know that’s something the Lightning don’t necessarily mind.

What is its projection? Probably as a second pair defenseman who sees time on the power play and can rack up 30-40 points per season. If you think he spends a few seasons with the Crunch, it could well see him fighting for a spot on the Lightning roster when Zach Bogosian’s contract runs out. Chances are the right side of the Lightning defense will be Erik Cernak, Jack Thompson and Nick Perbix in a few seasons. That wouldn’t be too shabby of a development for Tampa’s scouting staff.

Things you like to see – a big slapper beating a goalie from distance.

The first goal shows some pretty shrewd skating as he slips through three or four defenders. On the second goal, he reads the game and gently pinches.

Robert M. Larson