STORRS, Conn. -- UConn rising sophomore Tage Thompson (Orange, Conn.) became the first Husky in program history to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft when he was drafted by the St. Louis Blues with the 26th pick Friday night from the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y.
Thompson is the fifth Husky over the last four years to be selected in the NHL Draft. He joins Maxim Letunov (St. Louis/2nd Rd/2014), Miles Gendron (Ottawa/3rd Rd/2014), David Drake (Philadelphia/7th Rd/2013) and Ryan Segalla (Pittsburgh/4th Rd/2013) as NHL prospects on the UConn roster.
In the final NHL Draft Prospect Rankings released by NHL Central Scouting, Thompson was ranked 20th among North American skaters. He was the 11th of 12 American born player taken on Friday night, a new NHL Draft record. He was also one of 12 NCAA or NCAA-bound players taken in the first round, tying the NHL Draft record set in 2007.
The 6-5 winger enjoyed a breakout rookie season where he finished second on the team in scoring with 32 points on 14 goals and 18 assists. Thompson led the nation with 13 power play goals and finished the year with 19 points (13g/6a) on the power play. He ended the season playing his best hockey, scoring at least a point in 14 of the final 18 games, including a five-game point streak to end the year. He finished the year fourth among Hockey East rookies in scoring and eighth in the NCAA rookie rankings.
Thompson is the son of former NHL draft pick Brent Thompson who was selected in by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round (39th overall) of the 1989 draft. Thompson appeared in 121 NHL games with the Kings, Winnipeg Jets and Phoenix Coyotes. He is currently the head coach of the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Earlier this week, Thompson along with classmate Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.) were invited to participate in the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp. The duo will be trying to earn a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team that will take part in the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in December.
Thompson becomes the 15th UConn student-athlete to be selected in the first round of a professional sports draft since 2014 in the NBA, NFL, WNBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, MLS and Canadian Football League.
The 15 combined selections in these seven leagues is the most combined of any school in the country. Kentucky and Notre Dame are tied for second with nine followed by Florida, Michigan State, Ohio State and Washington with eight each.
UConn is the only school in the country to have a first round pick in the NBA, NFL, NHL, WNBA, MLS and MLB since 2014.