Thompson's Confidence Revived In Albany

Thursday, January 22, 2015
Paul Thompson has a career-high 21 goals this season just 39 games into the 2014-15 season.
What a difference a year makes, especially in the case of former Penguins forward Paul Thompson.

If you recall last season, Thompson got off to a slow start with the AHL Penguins - needing 17 games to score his first goal of the season after tallying 20 goals in 58 regular season games in 2012-13.

"Last year didn't go as I expected," Thompson told me when I caught up with him last Friday. "I felt good coming in and just never really got it going."

Things weren't going well for Thompson in Wilkes-Barre, who sat as a healthy scratch as many as seven times before being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a swap of AHL forwards for Spencer Machacek in the first week of February.

"Obviously in Wilkes-Barre, it didn't end the way I wanted," Thompson said, adding, "But I'm very grateful for my start there. They taught me a lot of really good things and good habits I didn't have coming out of college."

Thompson tallied four goals and three assists in 39 games with the Penguins last season, and followed that up with eight points (four goals, four assists) in 30 AHL games with Springfield later that year.

"It was a tough year," Thompson said, "but coming into this offseason to get a chance with Albany I was at the point where I had a good summer of training and I felt good coming into camp and I just really felt I had nothing to lose."

Entering last summer as a free agent, Thompson ended up signing an AHL contract with Albany Devils and began the 2014-15 on a tear - matching his four goals in 39 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on opening night in Albany's 5-1 win over the Adirondack Flames.

A week later, Thompson tallied his 5th and 6th goals of the season in his third game with the Devils. Just 10 games into the 2014-15 season, Thompson had tallied nine goals - surpassing his eight goal 69-game season last year split between the AHL Penguins and Springfield Falcons.

Thompson hit a bit of a lull in December, with only five points (two goals, three assists) in 10 games last month, but has re-gained his scoring touch in January - tallying eight goals in ten games this month.

Wednesday night in Albany, after being added to the AHL's Eastern Conference All-Star squad, Thompson reached another 'milestone' when he tallied two goals in the Devils' 5-3 win over Bridegport. The goals were his 20th and 21st on the season, his 21st a career-high. How many games did it take for Thompson to tally 21 goals? Thirty-nine, of course - the same number of games he played in Wilkes-Barre last season.

When I asked Thompson if he thought he would have this many goals at this point in the year coming into the season, his answer was sincere. "No, probably not."

"I had the confidence that I can still score goals in this league even though last year didn't go how I wanted," Thompson said. "It was all kind of a confidence thing."


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