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Prospect Update: Henry Thrun
By Thomas Harrington
A fourth-round pick from 2019, Henry Thrun had a fantastic freshman year at Harvard University and has become one of Anaheim’s top defensive prospects a year after being taken 101st overall.
As a freshman defenseman, Thrun played in all 31 games for Harvard and scored three goals and 21 points, finishing sixth on the team in assists and points, and led the team in blocked shots with 62. He also led the team with a +17 rating, while no one else had more than a +9 rating on Harvard. Thrun had a goal and an assist in his first game of the season and had a career-high three assists in late January. In the entire NCAA, he finished sixth in points among first-year defensemen, was named to the ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team, and was an ECAC Hockey Best Defensive Defenseman finalist.
This season, Thrun was supposed to return to Harvard for his sophomore campaign. He finished third in scoring among Harvard defensemen, but the two players who finished above him, Jack Rathbone and Reilly Walsh, have both signed pro contracts. With them gone, Thrun was supposed to step up and become a top defenseman on the team. Unfortunately, the pandemic disrupted those plans. Thrun has instead started the season in the USHL while waiting for the NCAA to resume playing. It was recently announced that Ivy League schools would not have fall or winter sports at all this season. As a result of this decision, Thrun will likely end up playing in the USHL for the entire season.
Expectations for all NCAA players are difficult this season, and with Thrun being in the USHL instead, probably even more so for him. He did play in the USHL in the 2018-2019 season, scoring four goals and 23 points in 28 games, so my first expectation would be for him to eclipse those numbers by a decent margin. My second expectation for him is to not only make Team USA’s World Junior Championship roster but to be one of their top four defensemen in the tournament by the time it’s over. Most people expect him to make the roster, but I think he’s good enough to not only make the team but be one of their better players.
Thrun isn’t the most dynamic player on the ice nor the most impactful skater. However, he is a very dependable player with all the right tools to hopefully propel him to the NHL someday. What might be most impressive about Thrun isn’t his offensive numbers, but rather his defensive game. He’s a smart, dependable player who rarely gets caught out of position. To go along with his strength in the defensive zone, Thrun is also able to put up a fair amount of points and could fit in nicely on a team’s second powerplay unit someday. He’s long been known for his play in his own end of the ice, but his offensive game came a long way in his freshman season.
Thrun is still a few years away from the NHL. If not for the pandemic, I’d anticipate him spending one or two more years at Harvard, and looking to turn pro after the completion of his junior season. However, it remains to be seen if playing in the USHL for a season ultimately hinders his development. I’m hoping not, but even if it does a little, he may not turn pro until three years from now. After turning pro, I do think he’ll spend at least some time in the AHL before getting a shot at the NHL.
So we are probably anywhere from three to five years away from seeing him in Anaheim. However, if he can come in and just dominate the USHL, and then return to the NCAA a year from now and continue to dominate, then he could turn pro much sooner. Also, with the NCAA no longer an option for him this year, there’s always a chance the Ducks could try to sign him now and get him playing in San Diego much sooner than anticipated.
Thrun is currently unsigned and will be until the conclusion of his NCAA career. When he does sign, expect it to be a standard entry-level deal; he will be a restricted free agent at its conclusion. At that point, his next contract will be entirely based on how the next several seasons go. If he can dominate in the USHL and the NCAA, and become a full-time NHL player during the course of his entry-level deal, expect him to get a one-way deal with Anaheim. If he’s still bouncing back and forth between the NHL and AHL, he’ll likely get a two-way deal instead.
The next prospect update will be on Lukas Dostal.
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December 21st, 2020