The New Jersey Devils were excited to bring in Tyce Thompson after his college career with Providence College ended. He signed his entry-level contract on March 24th, and he immediately went to the NHL. He made his professional debut on April 6th, the same night he got his first NHL point. The other six games in the NHL didn’t go very well, and he spent the rest of his time in the AHL.
However, looking deeper at the stats, his NHL stint was not as bad as the counting stats show. His CF% was second on the team to Jack Hughes. Seriously, he had the second-best possession numbers on the team. He was on a much smaller scale (831 minutes at 5v5 for Hughes against just under 60 for Thompson), but it is still telling that Thompson’s numbers looked this good.
Thompson clearly needed a little breather between his system in college and the NHL system, so he got 11 games in the minors. He had four points including his first two professional goals. He eventually got a chance for one more NHL game between his callup and send down. Thompson clearly knew what to work on and he worked on it.
Going back to his time in the NHL, Thompson was actually really good defensively, and he was really unlucky offensively. He had 10 high-danger chances for at 5v5 and just 6 chances against while on the ice. However, only one of his line’s chances went in while three went in against him. That means 50% of high-danger chances turned into goals while he was on the ice. To compare, Jack Hughes only had 15% of high-danger chances against turn into goals. P.K. Subban had the most high-danger goals against, and he still only saw 17% go in.
Thompson isn’t someone many people are considering as a player who will make the Devils out of training camp, but with what Lindy Ruff considers a priority, he just might. He is very safe in his own zone compared to some of the other forwards, and he could play on the penalty kill if need be. Ruff didn’t use him on the penalty kill last season, but maybe with more trust, he could use him in more opportunities.
The Devils have a lot of prospects going for very few spots on the roster. Thompson should not be lost in the shuffle. He could play a key role on this team next season.
(All statistics used in this article were taken from Natural Stat Trick.)