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Canadiens Familiar With Top NCAA Defenceman Becoming UFA



Canadiens target Henry Thrun

The Montreal Canadiens should be well aware of what Henry Thrun could provide to their team.

Rather than signing a contract with the Anaheim Ducks by the Aug.15 deadline, the 21-year-old defenceman has opted to pursue free agency at the conclusion of his college career.

Thrun was originally drafted 101st overall at the 2019 Draft and has since blossomed into a well-rounded defenceman, scoring 15 goals and 63 assists in 92 NCAA games.

Last season Thrun finished with an impressive 7 goals and 25 assists, good for eighth in scoring among all NCAA blueliners, earning second-team All-Star honours in the process.

The situation is similar to what happened with Calgary Flames draft pick Adam Fox, who advised the Flames he would not sign a contract, which led to the talented defenceman eventually landing with the New York Rangers following a pair of trades.

Thrun isn’t quite at Fox’s level, however, it should be noted both blueliners played for the Harvard Crimson before deciding to decline to sign an NHL contract with the teams that drafted them.

Seeing as Thrun plays for Harvard, a team Canadiens management has followed closely due to the development of star prospect Sean Farrell, there should be a significant level of familiarity when it comes to analyzing his potential NHL impact.


The Boston Bruins are always a favourite when it comes to signing Massachusetts-born players, but even if the Canadiens weren’t actively scouting Thrun, general manager Kent Hughes maintains rather strong connections to the hockey scene in Boston, which could provide key insights as to Thrun’s intentions and his potential decision.

Does He Fit?

There’s a lot to like about Thrun’s skill set.

Harvard’s captain is a very good skater, has high-end vision, and possesses strong offensive instincts. He added a lot of muscle to his 6’2 frame since the Draft, which allows him to win his fair share of one-on-one battles.

Nothing particularly stands out as elite from his game, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to hybrid defencemen, because nothing stands out as weak in his game either.

His decision-making has improved by leaps and bounds, which explains why he ended up being one of the most offensively-inclined defencemen in the ECAC while being billed as a defensive defenceman.

Thrun’s fantastic gap control is particularly noticeable. He gives opposing players very little to work with, oftentimes forcing them to dump the puck and abandon the play due to a lack of momentum.

He would be a great addition to the Canadiens’ prospect pool, however, he’s not an ideal fit for one very important reason: he’s left-handed.

The Habs are blessed with a wealth of talent on the left side, not only due to the many rookies currently playing in the NHL but also due to a severe unbalance among defencemen playing outside of the NHL.

Prospects such as Lane Hutson, Jayden Struble, William Trudeau, Adam Engstrom, Petteri Nurmi, and Nicolas Beaudin all play on the left, whereas, realistically, Logan Mailloux is probably the only right-handed defencemen with a legitimate chance of earning a job in the NHL.

With that in mind, there’s an adage in hockey that seems to always ring true: you can never have enough defencemen.