Connect with us

San Jose Sharks

Thrun Honest About Recent Struggles, Thinks He’s Still Developing Well in NHL



Credit: Dean Tait/Hockey Shots

Henry Thrun was very critical about how he started against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

“I had a pretty bad start to the game,” he admitted, which included a slashing penalty on Anthony Cirelli.

But the important thing is how Thrun responded. That’s why the 22-year-old rookie defenseman remains with the San Jose Sharks, through the downs of his -6 against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday and the team’s NHL-worst -125 goal differential.

“Some guys can develop in the National Hockey League, I think he’s one of them because he moves past his tough stretches,” head coach David Quinn said. “He’s certainly proven that up to this point.”

Both Quinn and Thrun believe, hard as it is to see with the naked eye, that his game went up another level after the Cirelli penalty. A defenseman’s progress might be the most difficult thing for an average fan to decipher: Forwards are more likely to create offense and they’re easier to hide on defense, while goalies either stop the puck or don’t. But defensemen? Their mistakes are magnified.

So how would Thrun measure his improvement on Thursday?

A big part of it was not overcompensating for his game-opening mistake: “Earlier in the year, I’d try to chase it and try to make a great play.

“I actually was pretty proud of the way I responded after the first two shifts.”

Counterintuitively, against Tampa Bay, Thrun tried to not get noticed.

“Tonight, let’s just be simple, be hard, play north, play it off the wall,” he said. “I felt that after the first couple minutes, I did a good job. That’s an individual thing that probably goes unnoticed.”

Oftentimes, the less you notice a defenseman, the better, right? That’s a challenge for many a young blueliner.

“Understanding that if nothing happens in your shift, that’s a good shift,” Quinn explained. “It’s hard to do because you always want to go out there and do something…The other team’s got good players, they’re trying too. It might be a standoff. You’ve got to understand that’s a good shift.”

Thrun is getting that. And Quinn recognizes that not every youngster is cut out to survive with these San Jose Sharks.

“It depends as a human being, who are you?” he mused. “Are you gonna continue to fight through it?”

Quinn still believes as he did in January, that both Thrun and 21-year-old winger William Eklund have the mental fortitude to grow in the NHL, despite the adversity.

What’s Special About Eklund, Thrun’s Mental Makeup?

Case in point, Eklund’s response on Thursday, after he was dropped from second-line center to fourth-line wing. Eklund scored a goal and was one of the San Jose Sharks’ best forwards.

Sharks Locker Room: The Mental Toll of Your Best Not Being Good Enough


“It’s a hard league to develop in,” Quinn said. “It’s not a development league, but you’ve gotta find a way to get it done. Those guys have not let their poor play or mistakes get in the way of their development, at the end of the day.”

“You try to learn,” Thrun said, “and take positives out of a tough situation.”

Welcome to your new home for San Jose Sharks breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to SJHN+ for all of our members-only content from Sheng Peng and the National Hockey Now network plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Sheng’s Travel Fund

Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.

Click here to contribute to Sheng's travel pool!

Get SJHN in your inbox!

Enter your email address to get all of our articles delivered directly to your inbox.

Hockey Shots

Extra Hour Hockey Training

Cathy’s Power Skating

Sharks Team & Cap Info

SJHN on Facebook