Which other prospects could one day join Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh and the rest of the young Rangers on Broadway?
Blueshirt Bulletin will be tracking the progress of the next wave of youngsters as they compete and develop this season in the Canadian junior leagues, college and abroad.
Below is a compilation of scouting reports, buzz and analysis by scouts and hockey experts on Christian Thomas.
We’ll update this as the season unfolds with the latest news at the bottom.
Drafted: 2010 2nd Round – (40th overall)
HT: 5' 9"
Team: London Knights, Oshawa Generals
2009-2010 stats: 41g, 25a, 66p, 64 gp, 27PIM
2010-2011 stats: 54g, 45a, 99p, 66gp, 38PIM
Rangers.com Prospect Feature
The Hockey News Prospect Feature
Interview after prospect’s scrimmage (6/28/11)
Scouting report entering the season from Blueshirt Bulletin
staff writer and author of The
Prospect Park, Jess Rubenstein:
“Thomas we see is pressing perhaps a tad too much to carry
the team and we think he just needs to let the game come to him. The goals will start coming and when they do
we still believe Thomas is going to put up huge numbers this season.” (10/1/11)
What the critics are saying:
Oshawa Generals GM and head coach Chris DePiero: “Christian has a great shot with great skills and is incredibly quick. He always competes and has strong character. He is growing into a terrific leader both on and off the ice.” (2010)
The Hockey News yearbook: “Good hands and quick release. Needs to improve strength.”
Hockey's Future: “Small, speedy forward with a scoring touch.”
Hockey Prospectus: “The Good: Thomas is an above-average skater who took his speed to a new level this season and impressed many NHL sources in that regard. On top of good speed, he's also a quick, agile skater with a powerful first few steps. His feet are always moving due to a top-end work ethic and he plays a waterbug type of style where he flies and disturbs all over the ice. He's a very tough kid who gets a ton of praise for his character and intangibles, as he will go into the physical areas with the biggest of players and work his tail off to win those battles. Thomas has a plus shot and his 55 goals this season are a small testament to his goal-scoring abilities. One NHL executive said on Thomas that "Those 55 goals weren't tap-ins, as he was simply scoring from everywhere on the ice."
The Bad: Thomas has a tendency to overuse his best weapon, as he can be a bit of a chucker with the puck the second he gets an open lane. His hockey sense is questionable in his ability to anticipate the play or read the ice. Thomas has solid hands, but isn't a true creator and is more of a give-and-go player with the puck. His physical game likely won't get beyond fringe despite his great work ethic because of his smallish stature. Thomas also needs to work on his defensive game in terms of his reads.
Projection: An average third line forward who can likely project into a bottom six in some role and his shot will get him ice time on a second unit power play.” – (8/9/11)
NHL.com scouting report: NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards: “He's a hard-working, up-and-down guy, but he didn't have a whole lot of opportunity last year. He's aggressive, plays a two-way game, gets involved in battles and goes to the net.”
Hockey's Future NY Ranger blog : “Finally, on a less happy note, one of the players that Erixon just crushed along the boards was Christian Thomas, who can shoot, but is knocked off the puck too regularly to be effective. After all the hype, he has disappointed–there is no question that he needs another year of junior hockey to get stronger and generally mature on the ice. He is only 19 and I think very much a victim of too high expectations.” – Training Camp Scrimmage (9/18/11)
SNYRangers Blog: “I think that for Thomas, the most important thing is being consistent and getting stronger. He will hopefully come close to 100 points again, but if he only ends up with 80 or so, in fewer games, and bulks up, that will be a very good season for him. The expectations for him in Traverse City were probably a little high, but he showed off a lot of his skill set and his underrated playmaking ability. It will be interesting to see how he progresses and plays at next year’s camp.” (9/22/11)
Buzzing the Net: “The little General (apologies to the late, great Ron Lancaster) hit the 40-goal mark as a 17-year-old and scored 50 in his age-18 season, so that means he has to get 60 in his final junior season, correct? That is meant to be tongue in cheek, since Thomas likely will not play a full schedule between his extended stay in Manhattan and trying out for the world junior team. Still, between their 54-goal man, the maturing Laughton and the three freshly minted high NHL picks in Jenner, Jensen and Lessio, the Generals figure to be a potent offence again. A few more assists (he had just 45 last year against those 54 goals) and Thomas could contend for the scoring title.” – (9/22/11)
Hockey's Future: “After Christian Thomas's outstanding 2010-11 campaign (he was in the top 10 in the OHL in goals and points in the regular season), there were high hopes that he would be ready for professional play this fall. When Thomas took the ice during training camp and at the Traverse City rookie tournament this summer, however, it was clear that although Thomas is an extremely fast skater, is incredibly creative, and has a very quick release, he is still easily knocked off the puck. Although he might have been reassigned to the AHL, Thomas was drafted out of the CHL, and, at 19 years old, is thus not eligible for AHL play. Reassigned to the Oshawa Generals for the 2011-12 season, Thomas will need to get much stronger to play in the NHL. If he accomplishes this without compromising his speed, Thomas has the potential to be a first line player, and may compete for a roster spot on the NHL team next fall.” (9/27/11)
The Prospect Park: “A bad weekend for Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 1st) got even worse on Sunday as his Oshawa Generals dropped a 7-6 decision to the Saginaw Spirit. Thomas scored his 5th goal of the season to extend his scoring streak to 5 games (2-5-7)
But it might be a few games before Thomas gets a shot at 6 games as Thomas was ejected at the 18:56 mark for a high sticking major. The penalty as we understand the OHL rules calls for an automatic 1 game suspension and OHL office review.
Since this will be Thomas's 2nd offense then we expect that at the least Thomas will get a 2 game suspension and worst case would be a 5 game ban. The OHL has made it clear that star or not they will suspend players who get major penalties.” (10/23/11)
Bleacher Report: “ The New York Rangers have a deep prospect pool and Christian Thomas happens to be towards the top of this list. However, he made headlines for the wrong reasons.
Thomas, of the Oshawa Generals of the OHL, was suspended for 10 regular season games due to the infraction featured in the video.
While on the ice, Thomas swung his stick and made contact with the defending player's face. He was initially assessed a five-minute match penalty.
While it is clear Thomas didn’t intend to do harm, this action needs to be stopped early on. No one knows what could have happened in a situation like this, so Thomas will have to pay the price.
Thomas was off to a hot start with 10 points in 13 regular season games. Hopefully this suspension doesn’t hinder Thomas’ chances of potentially playing for the Canadian World Junior team.
Thomas had high hopes of repeating his 50-goal campaign from last year in the OHL. 10 games seems to be a lot for a situation where no one was hurt.” (10/27/11)
Hockey's Future: “Christian Thomas is an undersized, highly skilled forward, with excellent speed and outstanding hands. He will need to get much stronger to be successful in the professional game, but the Rangers have hopes that eventually he will be a first line right winger for the NHL team.” (11/15/11)