Jack Thompson – 2020 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

The Hockey Writers 2020 NHL Entry Draft Guide

Jack Thompson

2019-20 Team: Sudbury Wolves – OHL
Date of Birth: March 19, 2002
Place of Birth: Courtice, ON, Canada
Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt: 172 pounds
Shoots: Right
Position: D
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible

Rankings

When you talk about the Sudbury Wolves this season, it generally follows with a mention of top prospect Quinton Byfield. However, the Wolves have some underrated draft-eligible talent throughout the lineup, and at the top of that list sits Jack Thompson. The Courtice, ON-native played his minor hockey for the Clarington Toros U16 AAA in the Eastern AAA Hockey League.

In his rookie season with the Wolves, he posted 6 goals and 16 points in 52 games played. He followed that up with 13 goals and 32 points in 63 games played this past season, finishing first among draft-eligible defensemen in goals and third in points.

Jack Thompson Sudbury Wolves
Jack Thompson of the Sudbury Wolves (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Thompson averaged over five minutes more in his sophomore season compared to his rookie year. The extra ice time and added responsibility allowed him to take his game to another level. He became a consistent weapon on the Wolves’ power play and was tasked with shutting down the opponent’s best players.

Related: THW’s 2020 Draft Guide

A strong skater with impressive mobility, Thompson utilizes his speed to get himself out of trouble in the defensive zone and transition into offense up ice. He’s quick off the mark and has above-average straight line speed. He moves well laterally thanks to strong edgework that allows him to pivot and change direction quickly. His skating allows him to join the rush often, where he’s been a threat to score as the late man into the zone. Despite being a threat to pinch, Thompson isn’t a liability in his own end, as he has enough speed to get back and break up plays. His decision making on offence could use some work, but that’ll come with time.

While he isn’t the flashiest play maker, Thompson is still a capable distributor. He does most of his damage on the power play where he uses his skating ability to patrol the blue line and open up lanes. At even strength, he uses a strong accurate first pass to exit the defensive zone and has the ability to hit forwards on the rush. He’s a threat to shoot while in the offensive zone, which opens up more space for him to find open teammates.

His shot is underrated when comparing it to the rest of the class. It’s not the first thing you hear about when someone mentions Thompson’s skill set, but, boy, is it effective. His slap shot was an important weapon for Sudbury on the power play. He possesses a hard and accurate shot that is even more effective on a one-timer. His wrist shot is just as lethal — with a quick release and deceptive power, he often catches opposing netminders off guard.

Although Thompson’s offensive ability tends to be the focal point of his game, he’s also an effective two-way defenseman. He has an active stick and uses his skating to get out of trouble. He’s gotten better at clearing the front of the net, and that should improve more once he fills out. He has average positioning, and likely gets bailed out more often than not thanks to his speed. There’s room for improvement there if he hopes to be a reliable defenseman at the NHL level. He’s prone to turnovers, which comes down to poor decision making at times.

Other THW Draft Profiles:

Jack Thompson – NHL Draft Projection

In their viewings of Byfield, there are bound to be teams that became fans of Thompson. He didn’t light up competition in his draft year, but there is enough there to see that he has NHL potential. On average, he projects as a third or fourth-round pick, and that’s likely where he’ll end up going. Teams that are looking for a talented three-zone defenseman will have a nice option in the middle rounds.

Quotables

“Two way defender who plays a very effective game with four direction skating ability, agility and a smooth stride and quickness. Not by any means dynamic, just does everything well and effects game outcomes in a positive fashion. At this point, he is only a six footer who shows a good decision making in all three zones, with jump to go retrieve pucks and make sound breakouts. Reads opposing entries and kills plays. Has good gap control, is smart with or without the biscuit on his lumber. At this juncture is not an aggressive attacker or generator, but has upside.” – Bill Placzek, DraftSite

“Jack Thompson is a tough prospect to gauge because he checks a lot of blocks for a modern-day defensemen but also has to prove he can be consistent. Some games he’s mobile, active, physical, and clean; others he’s risk-averse, indecisive, and somewhat disengaged. The good news is that I never considered him a liability and he seemed to put his partner or forwards in a good position to succeed. He’s not a classic power-play QB but he’s more than capable of feathering passes and reading defenses before delivering or shooting the puck. Sudbury definitely was a forward-centric attack so you rarely saw him take over games with confidence, but he definitely showed the potential in spurts throughout the season.” – Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst

Strengths

  • Shot
  • Passing and vision
  • Skating/Mobility

Under Construction (Improvements to Make)

  • Decision Making
  • Positioning
  • Needs to Add Strength

NHL Potential

Thompson’s skill set is raw, but he has the potential to develop into a top-four defender if everything falls into place. There are facets of his game that he needs to work on, but they’re all things he can improve on over time. He’ll add strength as he develops and projects as a fourth or fifth defensemen and a potential power play asset.

Risk-Reward Analysis

Risk – 2/5, Reward – 3.5/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offence – 7.5/10, Defence – 7/10

Awards/Achievements

Thompson was named to the CHL Top Prospects Game for the 2019-20 season.

Interviews/Links

Videos

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