Keaton Thompson THW Close-Up:
Date of birth: 9/14/1995
Place of birth: Devils Lake, North Dakota
Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 187 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2013
THW The Next Ones Rankings (January 2013): 70
THW War Room Rankings (April): 47
ISS (May): Not ranked
Future Considerations: Not ranked
Craig Button: 45
Consensus aggregate of several services (NHL Numbers): 36
[NHL 2013 Draft Guide – The Next Ones Draft Headquarters: Your quintessential draft resource]
North Dakota has a lot to look forward to on the backend next season. They will be with the services of hometown kid and USNTDP defenseman, Keaton Thompson, who is looked to as a steady two-way defenseman with excellent skating and hockey sense.
Thompson knows where to be at all times in all three zones and doesn’t seem to get caught out of position. His quickness and agility help him get back into the play and close down gaps in the defensive zone. He’s a prolific skater and willingly takes the puck up the ice if he does not see any passes available. Thompson demonstrates confidence when the puck is on his stick, but also doesn’t force too many things and plays a simple game on the blueline.
He needs to build up some muscle and use his body more effectively to knock players off the puck, so stepping in to a program like North Dakota should bode well for his game. The USNTDP seems to be doing a very good job developing defenseman. After Steve Santini, Thompson is likely the next best defenseman the team has produced this past season and will continue to grow his game with the Fighting Sioux.
Where Will He End Up In June:
Keaton has a strong chance at getting drafted in the mid-to-late 2nd round. I don’t think he will fall past the 3rd round, assuming he even makes it that far.
“Thompson is a smooth, two-way defenseman who plays a virtually mistake-free game. He’s a graceful, fluid skater who isn’t shy to jump in the rush. Seeing the ice well, he makes a good first pass and makes smart, composed play to relieve pressure.”
Aaron Vickers – Future Considerations
“Thompson has tools as he skates well and has shown a willingness to be physical. He also has some solid offensive upside, but he didn’t have ample opportunity to display it at the World Under-18s. Prone to some poor decision making with the puck, Thompson seemed to lack confidence while carrying it. At times he was overmatched against top lines defensively as well. The fact is, Thompson still has a lot of upside. The tools are there to be a very gifted defenseman, but he’s somewhat in a holding pattern. Earlier in the year he was beginning to project as a potential first-rounder and was one of my favorites early on. The tools are all still there. It’s just a matter of putting them all together with some improved decisions and confidence. He has the ability, but it could take a little time for it all to materialize.”
Chris Peters – United States of Hockey
“Joined Fargo as a 15 year old. Excellent all-around reliable defenseman with size, skill and some snarl. Shows the makings of good all-around defenseman, due to his natural poise and balance. Excellent competitor who can handle all situations. The team that drafts him knows from the get-go that his understanding and poise and abilities, with no long-term development to fix areas of concern.”
Bill Placzek – DraftSite.com
With the USNTDP, Thompson has played in the U17 WHC and the U18 WJC. In 12 games for Team USA he has four assists.
Risk: 1/5 Reward: 4/5
2nd pairing defenseman that can play on the PP and PK
Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:
Playing a more physical game
Not getting bounced around in front of the net
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offensive: 4/10 Defensive: 6/10
NHL Player Comparison:
– Thompson has described himself to play a similar style to Nick Leddy. Like Leddy, he’s very composed with the puck on his stick, can lead a rush, but also is defensively responsible.
Follow Shawn Reznik on Twitter: @ShawnTHW