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Thompson had a red-hot start to 2019-20, with 14 points in his first 10 games, then hit a rough patch near the midway mark of the season, before coming on strong at both ends of the rink down the stretch.
“He started off on fire and really took that step from last year, as a rookie, to start this year, and had people and scouts really excited,” Seidel said. “Then, admittedly, he went through a six-, eight-week stretch where he struggled, which isn’t uncommon, and then he started to come on again. As a scout and an evaluator, talking to teams, we all were saying OK, once the playoffs start, the intensity picks up, the physical side of the game picks up, is he going to be the player we saw at the beginning of the year, or the player we saw who struggled in the middle part? You’re missing that part of the equation, so he’s a good example of a kid who was hurt by it. To his credit, though, he finished up what was left of the year pretty strong, and I think that bodes well for him. I’m a big fan of his and I think he’s a very smart player, and I think teams will have seen enough at the beginning and at the end to justify not being too worried about that middle part of the season. He still should be a very good prospect.”
While he still prefers live, in-person viewings, Seidel said he believes the lockdown has made him more adept at scouting by video, and sees streaming becoming a more useful, more widely utilized tool, even after COVID-19.
“It has given me more of an appreciation for it,” he said. “The level of video has gotten a lot better over the years, and I think it’s a tool we probably under-utilized, quite frankly. But you get a chance to realize what you have and I think going forward, we’re going to utilize more of it. I’m still a big believer in boots on the ground and eyes in the rink, seeing live games and live players, but I think this has helped us realize there are some secondary sources to use that we can do a better job with, and I think we will in the future.”