2009-10: A second round selection of Saskatoon in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft, Dalton Thrower made his debut with the Blades. He played 55 games and had 7 assists and was plus-two with 61 penalty minutes on a Saskatoon team that finished with the league’s third best record. In eight playoff games he had 1 assist and was minus-one with 2 penalty minutes.
2010-11: Thrower skated in 68 of 72 games for Saskatoon in his second season as the Blades’ finished with the WHL’s best record. He also played for Canada Pacific in the 2011 U17 World Hockey Challenge. Thrower scored 6 goals with 14 assists and was plus-14 with 91 penalty minutes. The Blades were swept by upstart Kootenay in the second round of the playoffs. In ten playoff games Thrower scored 2 goals with 1 assist and was plus-four with 11 penalty minutes. He was scoreless with 6 penalty minutes in five games at the WHC.
2011-12: Thrower was the leading scorer amongst Blades defensemen in his third season with Saskatoon. In 66 games he scored 18 goals with 36 assists and was minus-four with 103 penalty minutes. The Blades won 40 or more games for the fourth straight season but were swept by Medicine Hat in the first round of the playoffs. Thrower had 1 assist and was minus-four with 4 penalty minutes in four playoff games. He was ranked 26th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft.
2012-13: Thrower had a tumultuous final season with Saskatoon; playing on the Blades’ second pairing and often facing the top opposition forwards. He scored 6 goals and 21 assists in 54 games and was +18 with 89 penalty minutes. He drew the ire of WHL and CHL officials and Saskatoon Coach/GM Lorne Molleken; receiving a pair of suspensions, one during the Memorial Cup, and was kept out of the lineup by Molleken for disciplinary reasons early in the year. The Blades finished first in the East Division but were swept by Medicine Hat in the first round. Thrower was -4 with no points and 6 penalty minutes in four WHL playoff games. Saskatoon, the Memorial Cup hosts, handed champion Halifax its only loss before back-to-back losses to Portland and London. Thrower was suspended for a hit on Portland’s Taylor Leier (no penalty was called on the play) and missed the London game; finishing with an even plus/minus with no points and two penalty minutes in three games. The Vancouver Giants acquired the rights to Thrower from the Blades in a May, 2013 trade.
Thrower is a blue-collar defenseman with an interesting mix of offensive skill and grit. He can move the puck and make the right play, but he also is willing to throw his weight around and mix it up with the opposition. He may not have quite the size that you'd like to see in a physical defenseman; it remains to be seen how he'll hold up at the pro level given the bigger competition he'll be facing. While he is competent both offensively and defensively, it is Thrower's toughness that is likely to give him a good shot at an NHL roster spot.
Thrower will receive a chance to play at the AHL level if he can show that recovered enough from his ankle surgery. The young defenseman could see time in the ECHL in order to play bigger minutes. His skillset is still very much needed in the Canadiens' organization.