Men's Hockey: Thompson Makes History, Masonius taken by Penguins in NHL Draft

Tage Thompson became UConn's first-ever first round NHL Draft pick Friday night. (Photo courtesy of @UConnMHOC)

Tage Thompson became UConn's first-ever first round NHL Draft pick Friday night. (Photo courtesy of @UConnMHOC)

UConn men’s hockey star Tage Thompson made history Friday night by becoming the first player in program history to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft.

Thompson was selected No. 26 overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo, New York to become the fifth Husky taken in the NHL draft in the last four seasons, joining Ryan Segalla, David Drake, Miles Gendron and Max Letunov.

The Orange, Connecticut native shined in his freshman campaign at UConn as part of the Huskies’ talented first-year class, leading UConn in scoring with 32 points on 14 goals and 18 assists and finishing eighth amongst NCAA rookies in scoring.

Thompson also played a pivotal role in dramatically improving UConn’s power play, leading the country with 13 power play goals to help lift what was one of the worst power play units in the country prior to his arrival to one that ranked 19th in the country at the end of Thompson’s first year.

The 6-foot-5-inch Thompson is the son of Brent Thompson, a second-round pick by the Los Angeles in the 1989 NHL Draft and the current head coach of the AHL’s Bridgeport Tigers. 

Classmate Joe Masonius joined Thompson as part UConn’s 2016 draft class after being selected by the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the sixth round with the 181st overall pick. Masonius spent time last summer with the Penguins during their summer development prior to joining UConn for his freshman season.

The Spring Lake, New Jersey native led all defenseman in scoring with 21 points on six goals and 15 assists, good enough for the fourth-most points on the team. He also finished third on the team with 42 blocked shots.

Masonius joins fellow defenseman Ryan Segalla as the other Penguins draft pick on the UConn roster.

Both Thompson and Masonius were invited to participate in the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp as they try to earn a spot on the U.S National Junior Team roster that will play in the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. The camp goes from July 30 to Aug. 7 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan.


Dan Madigan is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at daniel.madigan@uconn.edu. He tweets @dmad1433.