Tage Thompson is an inbetweener right now. He’s got a 50/50 shot to make the team next season simply because the Blues need depth at center.
He has the skills to make the league, but whether he deserves to make it next year or even soon is up to him. He is not one of these guys that wows you with stats, so it is more an eye test and a belief in his character.
Thompson averaged just shy of a point per game each of his two seasons at the University of Connecticut. He improved his goal scoring with 19 this past year in 34 games. However, in a 64 game season with the US National Development team a few years ago, he only had 26 points.
At his height and build, conditioning might be a worry. That is not to say he is out of shape, but big guys have to work at the speed aspect harder than other players.
Despite being a big kid, he will still need to add some size if he wants to be a consistent NHL player. It is one thing to have the talent, but you have to be able to put up with the grind.
That’s the one worrying thing about going from college to the pros, the extreme difference in the amount of games. If you go from college to the AHL you are more than doubling it. If you make the jump to the NHL, there is almost triple the amount of games.
Even the most in shape players can wear down with that grind if they are not ready for it. So, if Thompson can add some muscle and size without compromising footwork, he might have a good shot of making an immediate impact.
Thompson is going to be a slower burn and work in process. If we let him grow, he’ll be fine. If we expect 20 goals and 30 assists right off the bat, we are setting ourselves up for failure.