After the St. Louis Blues lost to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, January 9, they sent forward Tage Thompson down to the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL. The Blues are currently on their bye week and do not play again until Tuesday, January 16. The idea of sending Thompson down was so he could continue to gain experience during the Blues bye week. Then, when he comes back come back to the Blues, he will be able to play at the same pace and production level he was before the bye week. This season, Tage Thompson has earned his spot in the St. Louis Blues lineup. If he wants to continue to earn his spot in the lineup, he has no time to waste relaxing.
Thompson has been called up twice this season by the Blues. The first time, at the beginning of the season, Thompson played four games and did not score any points. While Thompson did not contribute offensively, the Blues won all four of the games he played in his first NHL call-up. The second time Thompson was called up, in December, he played 11 games and scored five points. Thompson mostly played on the second line. Thompson has had the opportunity to play with Vladimir Sobotka, Brayden Schenn and Paul Stastny. This has helped him adjust to the speed of the NHL.
Thompson averaged 12:52 of ice time in his first 20 games of the season. If Thompson can continue to contribute offensively on the second line as he has so far, it will be difficult for the Blues to take that spot away from him. That average will continue to rise.
Tage Thompson’s Professional Hockey Career
20-year-old Thompson graduated high school one year early to play hockey at the college level at the University of Connecticut. In his rookie season at UCONN in 2015-16, Thompson played in 36 games and had 32 points. Thompson was drafted by the Blues as the 26th overall draft pick in the 2016 NHL Draft before returning to the UCONN Huskies for his sophomore season. In 2016-17, Thompson played in 34 games and had 32 points. It was at UCONN where the catchphrase “Tage Against the Machine” started, one letter off from the 90’s rock band, Rage Against the Machine. Thompson also participated in the 2017 IIHF World Junior U20 Tournament, in which he helped Team USA win the gold medal.
After his second collegiate season, Thompson signed his entry-level deal with the Blues and joined the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. He played 16 games with the Wolves, but only had two points. Thompson has played 25 games with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL this season. In those 25 games, he has 17 points. If Thompson can play as well as he has been in the AHL when the Blues call him up again, he might not need to come back to the AHL.
Thompson will need to continue to earn his spot in the line-up. More experienced players will be coming back from injury and the playoffs are coming in a few months. He has to stay on his game if he wants to stay in the lineup.
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