UPDATE: The Rangers have confirmed the signing of Thomas. He can play up to nine games with the Blueshirts next season before he loses junior eligibility. Here are the contract details.
YESTERDAY: Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos just tweeted, “Look for the #Rangers to
announce 2nd round pick Christian Thomas has signed a 3 year entry level
No official word from the team yet, but it’s probably only a
matter of time.
This offseason the Rangers have signed prospects Carl Hagelin, Roman
Horak, Dylan McIlrath, Jason Wilson, and Ryan Bourque.
Thomas, 18, tallied 54 goals and 44 assists in 66 games for the Oshawa Generals this season. He followed that up with nine goals and 10 assists in 10 playoff games. He scored 41 goals and 25 assists in 64 games last year.
Thomas was the Rangers' second-round pick, No. 40 overall, in the 2010 Draft. The big knock on Thomas is his size, but at least at the OHL level his offensive ability seems to be more than enough to compensate for his diminuitive 5-9, 165 lb frame.
The Rangers face an interesting situation with Thomas
because he can only play in the OHL or the NHL, with no in-between. Thomas has little left to prove in the OHL, as he's already among the most prolific scorers in the league. However, it’s impossible to say right now if
he’s ready to join the Blueshirts.
The best guess is that he’ll get a long look during training
camp and the preseason to see if Thomas is ready to be a pro. If Thomas does make the team, he will likely do so in a top-six role. He is a pure offensive player and dropping him to a lower line wouldn't make sense for Thomas or the Rangers. If New York decides he's not yet ready for that responsiblity, he will likely be returned to the OHL.
- Thanks in no small part to Thomas, the Rangers have the
seventh best prospect group in hockey, according to Hockey’s Future. HF views Thomas as the team’s third best
prospect behind Chris Kreider and Ryan McDonagh, and followed by Evgeny Grachev
and Mats Zuccarello.
- One more note on Jarkko Immonen, who has apparently drawn
the Rangers interest thanks to a strong showing at the World
Championships. NHL.com reports that
Immonen re-signed with his KHL team earlier in May. Hard to tell if that’s true, but it obviously
- Here's today's draft profile of Mika Zibanejad.