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08-13-2011, 01:45 PM
  #1
Ian Altenbaugh
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Feature on Paul Thompson

Here is a feature I wrote about Paul Thompson: http://www.hockeysfuture.com/article...nguins_waddle/

I had been procrastinating it for a little while but had no content to post recently so I figured, now is as good of a time as ever. Hope you all enjoy!

What struck me meeting him was how big he is. Not from a height or weight standpoint, but he is a very thickly built with a wide base...very soft hands though. He seems perfectly built to get in close around the net and score garbage goals. Plays with a great deal of finesse too. Depending on how his debut season with Wilkes-Barre goes, I could see him being an injury call-up late in the season...especially if he is able to continue his prolific scoring on the man-advantage.

Playing for UNH he was mostly a trigger man on the powerplay and hung around about ten feet from the net. I think one of the biggest things missing from the Pens powerplay this past season was a solid triggerman...just someone who could consistently shoot the puck on net. So for everyone's sake including Pens fans, here is hoping that translates to the NHL level.

A waddle by the way is what a group of Penguins is called when they are on land.

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08-13-2011, 03:19 PM
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jmelm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Altenbaugh View Post
Here is a feature I wrote about Paul Thompson: http://www.hockeysfuture.com/article...nguins_waddle/

I had been procrastinating it for a little while but had no content to post recently so I figured, now is as good of a time as ever. Hope you all enjoy!

What struck me meeting him was how big he is. Not from a height or weight standpoint, but he is a very thickly built with a wide base...very soft hands though. He seems perfectly built to get in close around the net and score garbage goals. Plays with a great deal of finesse too. Depending on how his debut season with Wilkes-Barre goes, I could see him being an injury call-up late in the season...especially if he is able to continue his prolific scoring on the man-advantage.

Playing for UNH he was mostly a trigger man on the powerplay and hung around about ten feet from the net. I think one of the biggest things missing from the Pens powerplay this past season was a solid triggerman...just someone who could consistently shoot the puck on net. So for everyone's sake including Pens fans, here is hoping that translates to the NHL level.

A waddle by the way is what a group of Penguins is called when they are on land.
Seems that at the very least he could be a better version of Nick Johnson (?)

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08-13-2011, 08:40 PM
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Hopefully Shero found a gem here and he's on his way to being the next Letestu. Not in his type of play, but in the fact that he was signed out of college after going undrafted and having late success.

In Shero I trust.

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08-13-2011, 09:41 PM
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He sounds more and more promising.

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08-14-2011, 10:51 AM
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For some reason I always had the impression that Thompson wasn't a great skater...probably because adding a goal-scoring winger with size and speed for nothing would seem too good to be true, haha.

Nice to hear the kid has some wheels to go along with everything else.

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08-14-2011, 10:56 AM
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Sounds like he has a bit of Matt Moulson in him.

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08-14-2011, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by wej20 View Post
Sounds like he has a bit of Matt Moulson in him.
We can only hope. It would be a great pickup for Shero if he had a similar impact.

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08-14-2011, 03:42 PM
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jmelm
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Originally Posted by wej20 View Post
Sounds like he has a bit of Matt Moulson in him.
What Moulson had going for him more than anything else is really good hockey sense. He's got great hand-eye co-ordination and has developed a goal-scoring touch, whereas he was a bit more of a playmaker in college (used to play the point on the PP). I think Moulson's hockey sense is what allows him to just get in the right spots & open to score goals.

Thompson's numbers seem to suggest he's more of a pure goal-scorer than Moulson was at the college level. He seems to have good finishing ability and that combined with his mediocre skating make the Moulson comparable make sense, but I really can't speak to the other aspects of his game (i.e. playmaking or hockey sense) as I have not seen him play much.

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08-14-2011, 03:55 PM
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What Moulson had going for him more than anything else is really good hockey sense. He's got great hand-eye co-ordination and has developed a goal-scoring touch, whereas he was a bit more of a playmaker in college (used to play the point on the PP). I think Moulson's hockey sense is what allows him to just get in the right spots & open to score goals.

Thompson's numbers seem to suggest he's more of a pure goal-scorer than Moulson was at the college level. He seems to have good finishing ability and that combined with his mediocre skating make the Moulson comparable make sense, but I really can't speak to the other aspects of his game (i.e. playmaking or hockey sense) as I have not seen him play much.
the finishing in tight was what made me think of the Moulson comparison (plus not being a burner).

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08-14-2011, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmelm View Post
Thompson's numbers seem to suggest he's more of a pure goal-scorer than Moulson was at the college level. He seems to have good finishing ability and that combined with his mediocre skating make the Moulson comparable make sense, but I really can't speak to the other aspects of his game (i.e. playmaking or hockey sense) as I have not seen him play much.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wej20 View Post
the finishing in tight was what made me think of the Moulson comparison (plus not being a burner).
Guys...the article actually quotes Hynes mentioning Thompson's speed as a positive:

Quote:
Hynes credits Thompson's quick ascension to not only his natural gifts of size and speed, but his excellent work habits. "With his speed, [that part of the game] won't be an adjustment for him. It is going to be playing against older players and maybe a little bit more of a systematic game."
That was what surprised me. Pleasantly.

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08-15-2011, 03:55 AM
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My cousin grew up with him and is a close friend of his. Best of luck to Paul & his career with the Penguins, I've heard great things!

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08-15-2011, 10:25 AM
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Guys...the article actually quotes Hynes mentioning Thompson's speed as a positive:



That was what surprised me. Pleasantly.
well I haven't seen him to comment, as long as he has average NHL speed then I'm happy.

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08-15-2011, 10:49 AM
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well I haven't seen him to comment, as long as he has average NHL speed then I'm happy.
Oh, me neither. I just assumed the opposite for some reason.

Hynes' comments were great to hear.

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08-15-2011, 10:54 AM
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New Hampshire's home rink has a big (international) ice surface so Thompson's skating can't have been real bad. But I remembered reading that being a question mark about him, too. All the better if it is not.

How would you compare him to Nick Petersen?

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08-15-2011, 11:01 AM
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Ian Altenbaugh
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I saw a little bit of him at the AHL level...maybe a total of four games over the last few years as a New Hampshire player...in two prospect camps as well. I'd say it's not necessarily his speed as it is his skating if that makes sense. He's good at getting from point a to point b and in general really strong. Moves around well for a guy his size...strong and mobile. He's not like Pavel Bure or even Mike Grabner for that matter (who I think is extremely underrated), but his skating will get the job done.

Hynes really heaped on the praise, but he did seem genuinely surprised at how quickly Thompson was figuring out the system as well as how quickly he looked in place. What impressed me was how Hynes believed that Thompson's production will translate to the NHL level. That's a bold statement to make for a prospect.

I can understand what he is saying though. Thompson has historically been a good offensive player for many years, it was a matter of figuring everything else out, which he appears to have. If he continues to progress at the same rate he has over he past two seasons there is no reason to not expect solid production out of him. The same could be said for another Pens prospect Beau Bennett, because of roller hockey, he developed into a ridiculously creative player offensively, but needed to learn the other facets of the game.

Thompson's HF profile projects him as a top-nine forward who has the capability to be a powerplay dynamo, similar to Tom Holmstrom (in how he is used, not in necessarily how he plays). Without comparing skill-sets whatsoever, I'd say Thompson will find a lot of success playing in the same areas of the ice as Holmstrom as well as Moulson. He has soft hands when he is in tight around the net. He's a much better skater than Moulson though...he can bring the puck through the offensive zone and cut to the middle, use his size and hands to occasionally beat guys one-on-one. He's been compared to Bobby Butler a lot too in the sense that Thompson also loves to shoot the puck and can play a similarly up-tempo style of offensive game.

At the draft I needled DJ Powers, HF's NCAA writer, for as much information I could get on Thompson (I've actually asked quite a few people over the last month but DJ was easily the most helpful), which she was happy to provide as she enjoyed watching him develop as a player over four years. She said it was like night and day when he played physical. When he was hitting guys and battling hard for the puck, he looked like a beast down low, when he wasn't doing the little things as he said, playing physical, keeping his feet moving, the play would often pass him by.

As I said earlier, he projects as a top-nine forward with the potential to post a lot of points on the powerplay. He's going to play next season in the AHL, there's no doubt about that really, though I could see him making a quick ascension up the depth charts. Expect to see him skate with a lot of different centers in training camp.

Overall, he came off as a quiet and polite young man, quick to defer his success to playing with good linemates and under a good coach. Came off as something of a student of the game too, I have no doubt he could've easily articulated the minutia of the Penguins system versus New Hampshire's if I'd asked.

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08-15-2011, 11:06 AM
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Very interesting. Thanks Ian.

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08-15-2011, 11:09 AM
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He's a goal-scorer like Petersen...I think Thompson might be a little bit farther along in terms of his defensive game. Both probably need to upgrade their skating another notch, just to better utilize their offensive games, but neither are deficient skaters.

They are two kind of different players...both score a lot of goals but in different areas of the ice. I'm actually more familiar with Thompson than Petersen...simply because it's easier for me to get stuff on NCAA guys than those from the Q, but the AHL games he played in, Petersen didn't seem to be someone who carried the puck much. Thompson will carry the puck and try to create something, when he doesn't have the puck though he will move ten feet within the net in preparation for a pass. One isn't necessarily better than the other...it just is what it is.

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08-15-2011, 11:17 AM
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What position did Thompson play in college? What position did he play in AHL the few games he played there last season?

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08-15-2011, 11:24 AM
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I think he's a LW.

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08-15-2011, 11:50 AM
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Great stuff Ian. Thanks.

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08-16-2011, 12:52 PM
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Ian Altenbaugh
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He played left wing but can play on both sides. Good hockey IQ and on-ice awareness...good enough skater to that he could probably play center in a pinch (though I'm not sure how he is on draws). Given his build and his tendency to shoot the puck though, he'll make a more effective winger.

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08-16-2011, 12:57 PM
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Great stuff, Ian. Hopefully Shero's found us a free agent gem.

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08-16-2011, 02:03 PM
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Greatest line in AHL history coming to an arena near you:

Thompson - Vitale - Peterson

180 goals not out of the question...only a matter of time before they push some of our slacker NHLers out the door for cheaper contracts. Then just wait until the KUHN arrives on the scene. I've already heard rumblings that he could be a future Hall candidate.

Also: good article, Ian. Thanks! (had to throw that in at the end of my fortune-telling...)

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08-17-2011, 12:47 AM
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jmelm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiChi Vitale View Post
Greatest line in AHL history coming to an arena near you:

Thompson - Vitale - Peterson

180 goals not out of the question...only a matter of time before they push some of our slacker NHLers out the door for cheaper contracts. Then just wait until the KUHN arrives on the scene. I've already heard rumblings that he could be a future Hall candidate.

Also: good article, Ian. Thanks! (had to throw that in at the end of my fortune-telling...)
I think Petersen will have a big year, but I don't think there's any way Vitale makes it through waivers, and I don't think I want to take the chance if I'm Pittsburgh.

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08-17-2011, 12:55 AM
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Darius Dangleaitis
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Devils fan that went to UNH, here. Graduated in '10 so I had the chance to watch Thompson for three years in person, in addition to watching a few games this year.

He was a pretty highly touted guy coming in, being from New Hampshire and all. Took him a couple seasons to really get going, but that could be attributed to the insane depth that UNH had at forward in his freshman and sophomore years (JVR, Fornataro, Radja, Butler).

I like the Moulson comparison. It's definitely his shot and hands that will get the job done at the pro level, not his skating. He's definitely got that nose from ten feet in that will allow him to score a decent amount of goals.

Whereas I think Sislo will be more of a "jack of all trades" for the Devils, Thompson has the higher offensive ceiling and I think, given your center depth, he could be a terrific complement that you could plug up and down your top nine.

He played left wing in college, by the way.

A funny tidbit before I head back to my board: Thompson signed with the Penguins about a week before Sislo signed with the Devils. When Sislo signed, Thompson wrote "awkward..." on Sislo's facebook wall .

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