Total Season stats: 38 GP, 8 G, 6 A, 14 PTS
Contract Status: Signed through 2022-23, $1.4 million
Tage Thompson’s season was fine, but depending on what happens this summer, it may have been his last as a member of the Buffalo Sabres organization. Could he be shipped out as part of a trade package? Could he be claimed by the expansion franchise, the Seattle Kraken? Or will he be back in Buffalo when October rolls around?
The 23-year-old played just one NHL game in the 2019-20 season due to injury, and his 2021 season saw him face both illness and scratches. He appeared in 38 of 56 games and put up 14 points, which finished eighth among Sabres forwards in scoring. All but three of his points came at even-strength. At one point, literally half of his goals had come against the Penguins.
Tage Thompson responds for Buffalo, tapping home the Mittelstadt dish!#LetsGoBuffalo pic.twitter.com/yGx97rrmFo— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) May 7, 2021
Some nights, he was a difference-maker. Others, he was making mistakes. Others, he was watching from the press box. Following the Sabres’ season, Thompson was named to Team USA for the 2021 IIHF World Championships. He missed some time there due to an injury suffered during the tournament, but came back and wound up with five points (1-4) in eight games. The United States finished with the bronze medal.
Tage Thompson pounces on another loose puck in front and it's 2-0! #IIHFWorlds #NORUSA @usahockey @BuffaloSabres pic.twitter.com/uDxwqmBEcp— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 29, 2021
Honestly, I wouldn’t mind keeping Thompson around - I think he’s got room to grow and with the right line mates, he could - but I feel it’s more likely that he’ll be out this summer. Whether he gets packaged as part of a trade - perhaps with Jack Eichel or Sam Reinhart - or gets picked up by the Seattle Kraken, I’d be surprised if he is still wearing the blue and gold next season.
Season Grade: B