During his collegiate career at New Hampshire, Paul Thompson had a knack for showing up on the scoresheet. The winger was named Hockey East Player of the Year his senior season, notching a league-leading 52 points. Entering into his second full season of professional hockey, Thompson has been putting up points once again.
The Wilkes-Barre Scranton forward is the club’s leading scorer, with six goals and nine points through 13 games this season -- including a hat trick on Nov 4 against Bridgeport. Thompson was anxious to get off to a strong start for the Pens, and wants to build on his experiences from last year.
“I think I just learned throughout the course of the year that you’ve got to come to the rink to work every day as hard as you possibly can,” Thompson said at training camp. “That’s something that stuck with me and I think I developed a lot last year. I’m looking forward to getting started here.”
After going through it last year, Thompson knew what to expect coming into training camp this season. It’s something that made things easier for the Methuen, Massachusetts native the second time around.
“You know what (the coaching staff is) expecting and how you’re expected to play every day,” Thompson said. “It’s definitely a bit easier just knowing what to expect coming to the rink every day.”
It didn’t necessarily come easy last season for Thompson, as he struggled at times to get acclimated to the pro game. He was sent down to Wheeling for a contest last year before getting called back to WBS. Making the transition from college to the pros is something where Thompson realized he had to adjust to in order to succeed.
“It becomes a job and it’s something you literally have to work for every day to stay where you are,” Thompson said. “Your goal is always to move up, (but) especially to stay where you are, it’s not easy. It’s just something that you have to get used to.”
Things got better for Thompson, as he finished the campaign in WBS with 10 goals and 25 points to his name. The 6-foot, 200-pound forward admits that he had to change his style once arriving in Wilkes-Barre, realizing he wasn’t always going to score the big goals.
“I had to develop into just more of an all-around player and be able to do some of the little things, that at school, I didn’t necessarily have to do to have success,” Thompson said. “At this level, you need to do those things. It took me some time, a little longer than I wanted, but I think I developed pretty well.”
Thompson is pleased with his situation in year two. He loves being around the rest of the team on and off the ice, and the tight-knit group helps to make things fun. And the organization itself isn’t bad either.
“I just think from top to bottom, we’ve got a great group of guys,” Thompson said. “The management and all the coaches are really good guys and really personable. It makes things a lot easier.”
Points are coming easier for Thompson as well. Just like in New Hampshire.