Tyce Thompson Could Be Next Great Piece In New Jersey Devils System

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 22: Tyce Thompson poses after being selected 96th overall by the New Jersey Devils during the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 22: Tyce Thompson poses after being selected 96th overall by the New Jersey Devils during the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images) /
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The New Jersey Devils got good news on Wednesday morning when it was reported that Providence College junior Tyce Thompson was forgoing his final year of college eligibility to sign with the pro club. There was a faint worry he could skip the contract, play his senior season, then become a free agent, but he decided to ride with the team that drafted him. It was first reported by Mark Divver of the New England Hockey Journal.

Some were worried about Thompson’s ability to exceed expectations after former linemate Jack Dugan signed with the Vegas Golden Knights last offseason, but he did just fine without him. He finished his final season at Providence with a point per game, which includes 11 goals in 25 games. It was a slight drop in production, but he was doing a lot by himself.

New Jersey Devils sign prospect Tyce Thompson to a two-year deal.

He started the season as a center, and things didn’t really mesh for him. Then, Providence coach (and probably future Sabres coach) Nate Leaman moved him back to the wing, and his offensive production took off.

That’s huge for the Devils’ system because they have a much bigger need for wings than they do for centers. Obviously, with Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Pavel Zacha, and Michael McLeod all under the age of 24, there’s not much room to make an impact in the middle of the ice. However, Thompson could theoretically start with the New Jersey Devils at wing right now.

It’s probably better for his long-term development to play in Binghamton to start his first tour in the pros, but the option is there to play on the big club. Thompson could provide important scoring at the next level.

Thompson is the son of a hockey coach whose work ethic is one of his best attributes. Playing for a veteran like Lindy Ruff might be perfect for him. He’s going to come in and do everything he can to make the roster. The former 4th-round pick is seeing his shot get better every season, and he might be the answer on the wing internally.

The Devils are quietly putting together an amazing foundation around Hughes and Hischier. Jesper Bratt is playing incredibly well this season after a slow start. Miles Wood is finally living up to his potential under Ruff’s guidance. Yegor Sharangovich and Janne Kuokkanen look like legitimate NHL forwards with scoring upside. Mikhail Maltsev has earned a regular spot in the lineup.

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This isn’t even talking about Alexander Holtz and Dawson Mercer who are both expected to make a major impact as early as next season. The Devils future forward group might all be in the building already. Think about these lines, and get excited.

Holtz-Hughes-Sharangovich
Thompson-Hischier-Bratt
Kuokkanen-Zacha-Mercer
Wood-McLeod-Bastian

That’s with no Maltsev, no Nolan Foote, no Graeme Clarke, Fabian Zetterlund, Marian Studenic, Aarne Talvitie, Nick Merkley, Jaromir Pytlik, or Arseni Gritzyuk. This is also without re-signing Kyle Palmieri or Nikita Gusev and never trading for a young star. This is ignoring the possibility that Andreas Johnsson could figure things out.

Thompson is just another piece that could turn this Devils team into an offensive powerhouse. This is really growing into a system of really awesome forwards. The defensive side of things could use some more depth outside of Ty Smith, Kevin Bahl, and Reilly Walsh, but with Mackenzie Blackwood in net, this Devils team has the makings of a contender in just a few years.