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Prospect Update: Henry Thrun
By Thomas Harrington
A fourth round pick from 2019, defenseman Henry Thrun completed his junior year at Harvard University this past season and will be returning there for his senior year.
After the pandemic forced Thrun to play in the USHL in the 2020-2021 season, Thrun had a strong return to the college ranks, scoring seven goals and 32 points in 35 games. He led the team in assists with 25 and was third in points. Thrun had a strong start to the season, including a career high five assist night at the end of October. In early November he was named the ECAC Player of the Week after recording eight points in just two games. At the end of the year he was named a Second Team AHCA All-American and was a finalist for the Best Defensive Defenseman.
Given that he was forced to play in the USHL for a year, I had set low expectations for Thrun’s return in case he struggled being back against higher competition, and he certainly exceeded them. First, I wanted him to match his freshman year numbers when he scored three goals and 21 points, which he beat by quite a bit. Second, I wanted him to be one of the team’s more reliable defensemen, which he certainly did by leading the defense in scoring and being a finalist for the Best Defensive Defenseman.
In a bit of a surprising move, Thrun will be returning for his senior season at Harvard. One of the reasons why he made this decision was because of his lost sophomore season. I do think if not for the pandemic, he would have signed with the Ducks this summer. Another season of NCAA hockey should help him round out his game even more and be better prepared for the pro game once his college career is over.
I have a couple of expectations for Thrun’s final year of college hockey. First, to average a point per game. That’s not an easy thing for a defenseman to do, but he nearly met that mark as a junior in only his second year of college hockey. Second, I want him to lead Harvard in assists for the second consecutive season. Finally, I want him to be Harvard’s top defenseman for the second year in a row.
With one more year of college hockey ahead of him, Thrun’s timeline to make the NHL has been pushed back. I thought there was a good chance he’d turn pro with San Diego this coming season and have a legitimate shot at the NHL the following season. However, since he won’t be turning pro until the 2023-2024 season, I think the following year is more likely for him to make it to the NHL. Depending on exactly when his college year wraps up, though, he could jump into the AHL at the end of the year like Blake McLaughlin did this past year. If he has a truly great year, he could jump straight to the NHL, like Troy Terry did a few years ago.
Thrun is currently unsigned, but Pat Verbeek is hoping to sign the young defenseman once his senior year is over. However, that’s certainly not a guarantee. If Thrun feels like he can get a better opportunity with another team, he may consider it. I’m hoping he’ll sign once this year is over and I think the odds are good that he will, but there’s always a chance he doesn’t. One thing is clear: if he becomes a free agent next summer, it will be because Thrun has decided not to sign with Anaheim, not because Anaheim decided not to sign him.
The next prospect update will be on Thimo Nickl.
Prospect Update: Sean Tschigerl
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September 23rd, 2022