Paul Thompson
Image: NHL

Paul Thompson

Hometown:

Derry New Hampshire

Currently Playing In:

Pro

Birthday:

1988-11-20

Position:

LW

Eligible for draft:

2006

Shoots:

Right

Drafted:

Height:

6-1

Acquired:

Trade with Pittsburgh, 2014

Weight:

198 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • D

History

2008-09: Paul Thompson skated in 27 of 38 games for New Hampshire as a sophomore. He scored 4 goals with 5 assists and was minus-3 with 22 PMs. The Wildcats finished third in Hockey East and lost to eventual national champion Boston University in the NCAA Northeast Region Final.

2009-10: Thompson emerged as a legitimate scorer once given the opportunity to play a top line role for New Hampshire. He skated in all 39 games as a junior for the Hockey East regular season champion Wildcats and was second on the team in points with 19 goals and 20 assists. He scored four times on the power play and was plus-12 with 24 PMs.

2010-11: Thompson finished the season with 28 goals and 52 points through 29 games, good for tenth in the nation. He also managed 12 powerplay goals which was tops in the nation. He was a unanimous selection as a Hockey East First Team All-Star and Hockey East Player of the Year. He is also a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the best player in D1 Men’s hockey. On March 28th, Thompson signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

2011-12: Thompson worked to find a regular spot in the lineup for Penguins’ AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in his first pro season.  He played in 67 games, scoring 10 goals with 15 assists, and was minus-1 with 37 penalty minutes. The Penguins finished second in the East Division behind Calder Cup champion Norfolk and reached the second round in the playoffs. Thompson played in all 12 playoff games and scored 2 goals with 1 assist; finishing minus-2 with 2 penalty minutes. He skated in one ECHL game for Wheeling and had 1 goal with 1 assist.

2012-13: Thompson appeared in 58 games with Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate in his second pro season, missing 15 games in February with an upper body injury. He was third on the team with 20 goals and had nine assists; finishing plus-1 with 84 penalty minutes. Wilkes-Barre Scranton finished third in the AHL’s East Division and reached the Eastern Conference Finals against Syracuse. Thompson scored 3 goals with 3 assists in 15 playoff games and was minus-11 with 21 penalty minutes. He was re-signed by Pittsburgh to a one-year contract as a restricted free agent in July of 2013.

2013-14: Thompson spent his third pro season in the AHL — skating in 39 games for Pittsburgh affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before being acquired by Columbus in exchange for forward Spencer Machacek in February and finishing the year in Springfield. He scored 4 goals with 3 assists and was minus-8 with 50 penalty minutes in 39 games for the Penguins and scored 4 goals with 4 assists while finishing plus-1 with 50 penalty minutes in 30 games for Springfield. The Falcons finished first in the Northeast Division before falling to Providence in a five-game first-round playoff series. Thompson was minus-3 with no points and 5 penalty minutes in five playoff games. 

Talent Analysis

Paul Thompson is a former offensive standout at the NCAA level who has yet to match those numbers at the pro level. He is sturdily built and possesses a high compete level — unafraid to come to the aid of teammates though he sometimes takes undisciplined penalties. Thompson is a very good stick-handler and scores a lot of his goals in traffic. He is particularly good at forcing his way into the blue paint around the net to score garbage goals. Thompson's skating has been an issue at times — both in terms of speed and agility — is one of the aspects of his game that has kept him from reaching the NHL level to this point.

Future

Thompson attended New Jersey's training camp as a free agent but was released and signed an AHL contract with Devils affiliate Albany for the 2014-15 season. Now in his fifth pro season — he scored 11 goals in his first 20 games — the fastest start of his pro career. His scoring to go along with his physical two-way play this season suggests he might be an inexpensive option for a New Jersey team that is struggling to score goals. Just as likely, Thompson hit his career peak as a very good AHL player or he may head to Europe for a more lucrative contract.

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