A. J. Thelen

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A. J. Thelen
Born (1986-03-11) March 11, 1986 (age 28)
Savage, MN, USA
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 212 lb (96 kg; 15 st 2 lb)
Position Defense
Shot Left
Played for Houston Aeros
Kalamazoo Wings
Rochester Americans
Texas Wildcatters
NHL Draft 12th overall, 2004
Minnesota Wild
Playing career 2006–2011

Anthony James "A. J." Thelen[1] (born March 11, 1986) is an American retired professional ice hockey defenceman. He was drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, selected 12th overall.

Playing career[edit]

After playing for the U.S. National Under-18 Development Program in 2002–03, Thelen joined Michigan State University to play college hockey. After his freshman season in 2003–04, he was drafted in the first round, 12th overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild. Following his sophomore season with Michigan State, however, he was dismissed by the league for rules infractions.[2]

Accordingly, he joined the major junior Western Hockey League (WHL) with the Prince Albert Raiders. Upon completing his first season in the WHL, Thelen was assigned by the Wild to their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Houston Aeros, where he made his professional debut, playing in one game. The next season, in 2006–07, after missing some time due to a knee sprain, Thelen was traded by the Raiders to the Vancouver Giants, in exchange for defenseman John Flatters and prospect Nathan Deck,[2] where he captured the 2007 Memorial Cup championship with the Giants as tournament hosts.

Unsigned by the Wild out of major junior, Thelen turned pro in the ECHL with the Texas Wildcatters, tallying 35 points in his rookie season.

In 2008–09, Thelen joined the Florida Everblades. During the 2009-10 ECHL season, Thelen was named to the ECHL All-Star Team and took part in the skills competition. Thelen won the Hardest Shot Competition with a shot of 101.9 mph.[1] On February 13, 2010, Thelen would suffer another concussion, the third of his career.[3] He attempted to come back a week later, but ended up sitting out the rest of the season due to post-concussion syndrome.

On September 17, 2010, Thelen signed with the Kalamazoo Wings, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL's New York Islanders[4]

With back issues and a history of concussions, Thelen retired from hockey after the completion of the 2010-11 ECHL season at age 25.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2002–03 USNTDP NAHL 44 2 7 9 72
2003–04 Michigan State University CCHA 42 11 18 29 50
2004–05 Michigan State University CCHA 33 0 11 11 48
2005–06 Prince Albert Raiders WHL 72 13 23 36 79
2005–06 Houston Aeros AHL 1 0 0 0 2
2006–07 Prince Albert Raiders WHL 23 4 8 12 53
2006–07 Vancouver Giants WHL 30 4 5 9 35 22 1 7 8 18
2007–08 Texas Wildcatters ECHL 63 7 28 35 70 4 0 1 1 2
2008–09 Florida Everblades ECHL 34 3 14 17 27 10 0 1 1 14
2009–10 Florida Everblades ECHL 48 8 18 26 52
2009–10 Rochester Americans AHL 9 0 0 0 6
2010–11 Kalamazoo Wings ECHL 65 6 23 29 32 19 4 8 12 12
AHL totals 10 0 0 0 8

Awards and honors[edit]

Award Year
All-CCHA Rookie Team 2003-04
All-CCHA First Team 2003-04
CCHA Best Offensive Defenseman 2003-04
AHCA West Second-Team All-American 2003–04
CHL Memorial Cup 2007

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
John-Michael Liles
CCHA Best Offensive Defenseman
2003-04
Succeeded by
Andy Greene
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Brent Burns
Minnesota Wild first round draft pick
2004
Succeeded by
Benoit Pouliot