The United States National Team Development Program was stacked this season and could see as many as five of their forwards go in the top 10 of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Having such a dominant team has resulted in all of their players being heavily scouted, and very little left to be discovered. That said, Henry Thrun might be one player that isn’t getting as much recognition as he probably deserves.
While we won’t hype him a potential first round player, but a player with a high floor that could very well be an NHL player after a few more years of development.
Without further ado, lets breakdown the game of Henry Thrun.
- Age/Birthdate: 18 / March,12, 2001
- Birthplace: Southborough, MA, USA
- Frame: 6-foot-2 / 190 lbs
- Position: Defenceman
- Handedness: Left
- Draft Year Team: U.S. National Team Development Program
- U17 WHC Gold Medal
- U18 WJC Bronze Medal
2018-19 Stat Rundown
|GP||G||A||P||INV%||5v5 Pr INV%||5v5 ePr60||SEAL||Sh/GP||Sh%||5v5 eTOI||GF%||GF%rel||GD60 rel||XLS%||Top XLS%||XPR|
(Editor’s note on the stats and charts in this article: the U.S. National Team Development Program is a unique program in that its roster plays in several different leagues over the course of the season. Typically, we’ve just used their stats against USHL competition. However, this year their NCAA stats have also been incorporated in some circumstances.
Games played, goals, assists, points and shot data include all U.S. NTDP games. Any data derived from game sheets (involvement percentage, eP60, SEAL data, and on-ice data), as well as any charts that reference “USDP” as the league refer to U.S. NTDP games against both USHL and NCAA competition. pGPS data is based off of USHL games alone.)
Already possessing good size at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, Thrun appears to be even bigger on the ice than what his measurements suggest. He is very effective at preventing opponents from entering the zone along the wall, using his skating to angle them out of space and then separating them with a good check.
He consistently displays a high level of hockey IQ that comes through in his ability to anticipate the play and adeptly react to it. Next is a quick elimination of the threat, recovery of the puck, and transitioning it out of the zone onto the tape of his forwards. He is more of a puck mover than a carrier, but that shouldn’t be of major concern as he is so effective at getting his passes to his teammates.
It’s important to add that if he somehow misreads the opponent’s attack, he has a high level of competitiveness and a refusal to give up on the puck. Thrun hounds his opponents, forcing them to keep their feet moving and trying to maintain control of the puck. If there is a slight misstep, Thrun will separate the puck from them or poke it away.
Overall, I’ve found his defensive game to be quite mature for his age.
On the offensive side of the ledger, Thrun isn’t the most creative or skilled defenceman and that shows itself a little more in that aspect of the game. He can move the puck well but won’t force the play, instead relying on the safe and smart play. He has a good slapshot and is very good at moving towards the net when he receives a pass.
Overall, he isn’t a blackhole when it comes to offence, but shouldn’t be relied upon to lead or create the attack.
The other area of concern is his skating. It lacks two step quickness, acceleration, and high end top speed. He gets around the ice well enough with his ability to lean on his edges and pivoting, but can get caught flatfooted in the rare times that he doesn’t anticipate the play properly.
Off the top, I mentioned that Thrun was a player that was flying under the radar a bit. Obviously, given how good the program was this season, there is only so much ‘under the radar’ a player can be, but Thrun seems to be just an after thought when ranking the Program’s defencemen. Cam York is rightfully the highest ranked of the group, and then Alex Vlasic and Marshall Warren are generally ahead of Thrun.
That is in part due to the smaller role that Thrun played for the team:
His estimated 5v5 time-on-ice never really got above the 14 minute mark for the season. Despite that limited ice-time, Thrun finished third among defencemen in scoring on his team, with 37 points in 64 games (against the various levels of competition), with only York and diminutive Domenick Fensore ahead of him.
Like many of his teammates, he came out well ahead in terms of the goal events and GF%:
His production results in a pretty restricted cohort, with only 12 matches, shown below:
With an estimated likelihood of success of 33%, Thrun ranks 36th among first time draft eligible players. Given that he was ranked as the 39th best North American skater in this draft class, this is a very encouraging number.
With USHL players, there is going to be a smaller cohort as the league has only recently come into its own as a prominent feeder league. Since he only has 12 matches, it can create a skewed projection and unrealistic expectations of role (as seen in above image). But that success rate isn’t something to entirely dismiss either.
So many players in this range are subject to questions about their game and how they can become serviceable players to an NHL organization. It’s about sorting the players that you feel will succeed in the order that you feel comfortable with. Thrun isn’t a player that I would be tripping over myself to select, but he is a player that I feel should be on many teams target lists.
Thrun was a part of the esteemed Program for good reason and produced well in the ice-time afforded to him. I’d rather target a player like that rather than a big hulking defenceman who can’t produce.
I like his ability to move the puck and the simplicity of his offensive game, while still being responsible in his own zone. Had he been granted a bigger role this season, I think there might have been some more interest in him as a prospect. Thrun is expected to head to Harvard next season and should have a good chance to grow into a big part of their backend.
Rolling Season Data
Raw data for the charts used in this article came from eliteprospects.com, ushl.com and collegehockeyinc.com.
Some clips were pulled from videos from prospectshifts.com. Check out Henry Thrun’s page here (paywall). Other clips were pulled from original broadcasts, with all rights reserved for the original broadcast companies.
Founder and analyst for NextGenHockey.ca — Contributor to The Athletic Vancouver, EliteProspects, CanucksArmy, and Canucks.com.
Father of two and decent husband.
I watch the game.