Last night Christian Thomas played for the Whale in their preseason opener and skated with Kyle Jean and Andrew Yogan.
The team’s website said those three players were buzzing around the offensive zone and that Thomas had a productive game even though he didn’t end up on the score sheet, “Thomas, in particular, impressed with his quick release, and quantity of scoring chances, including a tracer off the post in the opening period of a still 0-0 game.”
Earlier this week, Thomas told the Rangers website that he enjoyed his work and preparation for the season, saying “each summer keeps getting harder. This summer I trained with Gary Roberts and my group had Stamkos and James Neal and I tried to learn from them.”
A noted goal scorer in junior hockey, Thomas described his game saying he was ready to play “The Right Way,” “I’m a two-way player. I play just as hard in the defensive zone as I do in the offensive zone. They want me to score goals and that is what I like doing the best but it’s important for Torts to play well defensively, block shots and be hard on the forecheck
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Steven Stamkos tweeted last night “
@cpt27 u better be good tomorrow … I picked u for a reason. Actually 50 reasons #50goalclub“
1:12PM: Christian Thomas was stopped on a shootout attempt and his team lost.
Thomas went in with moderate speed and elected to deke instead of shoot and was stopped.
This summer Christian Thomas joined Steve Stamkos, Jeff Skinner and James Neal and others to train with Gary Roberts in Toronto for his high intensity workout camp.
Dan Rosen, at NHL.com, went to the camp and report on the program that Roberts has these players on.
The initial phase stresses general strengthening and corrective exercises designed to fix nagging injuries or imbalances that might have developed during an 82-game NHL season. The second phase is focused on strength and power, and the third phase is structured to provide the speed and endurance necessary to be prepared for training camp.
Roberts said that he works with each player individually to help them get better, “So, I treat everybody differently that way. These guys get specific training for their own weaknesses and that’s what the summer should be about. The winter becomes a general program, but the summer should be more specific to the players’ needs.”
Thomas’ father Steve was teammates with Roberts in Toronto.
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Two seasons ago Christian Thomas lit up the scoreboard in the OHL with 54 goals and 45 assists and last season he was expected to compete for the OHL scoring title.
Instead, Thomas finished the season with 34 goals and 33 assists. Thomas didn’t make Team Canada for the World Juniors either.
At OHL Prospects, Brock writes “Obviously, he’s incredibly talented, but something was lacking this year. His shot and ability to get himself open are pro ready. He’s a tremendous goal scorer, which everyone knows. I think the biggest difference in his game this year was the lack of aggression. While Christian’s never been an overtly physical player, he has previously been a very tenacious and hungry player without the puck. That part of his game was lacking a bit this year, as he seemed to coast at times.”
He adds, “Moving on to Connecticut of the AHL this year, Thomas is going to need to re-discover that passion and step up his play away from the puck. He’s got plenty of natural offensive gifts, and he should be fine in the long run. He’s plenty strong enough for a smaller guy, so I don’t see him having too much difficulty transitioning as a goal scorer. “
It had been suggested that Thomas was hurt by the Traverse City Tournament.
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Jeff Beukeboom talked to Blueshirts United and said that one of the players he is most excited to coach is winger Christian Thomas.
He says that Thomas has an advantage in having a father who scored over 400 goals in his NHL career, “As long as he’s open minded and listens—which is the type kid he is—he’ll be fine. I think with his background, that’s a huge plus for him.”
He added, “I know he’s a good kid and he’s willing to work, and learn, and try new things. Any time you have those traits, you’re going to be fine. I think he’s going to adapt fine, and the size thing won’t be such an issue.”
Thomas has been described as having a similar style to his father.
On his best asset, Thomas says “My shot is one of my biggest things, and hopefully that can translate to the NHL level and I can still score goals there.”
Adam Rotter: The plan seems to be for Thomas to start the season in the AHL, so I think his chances at having a big role with the Rangers this season is slim. Gordie Clark has said that Thomas likely needs a full season in the AHL but he does have one thing going for him, and it’s his “wow” shot.
Maybe situationally Thomas can come up and be a power play guy as he gets acclimated to the pro game. John Tortorella has mentioned him which makes me believe that the coach wouldn’t mind seeing him win a spot in training camp.
Thomas is working out with Steven Stamkos and Jeff Skinner this summer.
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At Rangers development camp, Christian Thomas told the team’s website that he spent this past season in Oshawa trying to become a better all around player. He said that after scoring 54 goals the season before, he wanted to get better in the defensive zone, better on the wall, become a better forechecker and block some shots.
Even as Thomas attempts to round out his game, he knows how he can best help the team, “my number one goal is to help the team out by putting the puck in the net and hopefully that’ll help out in the next level as well.”
He said he wants to prove that he can score against top goalies in the league saying, “put a couple pucks by Lundqvist and I think that should prove that I can score.”
On this summer, heading into his first professional season, Thomas said “I’ll try to get stronger and work on my skating, work on everything in the offseason here and hopefully coming into Ranger camp I can make the team.”
Adam Graves has said that Thomas possesses a “wow” kind of shot.
At Newsday, Arthur Staple notes that 2010 second round pick Christian Thomas is working out this summer with his dad’s former teammate Gary Roberts as part of Roberts’ famous summer training program.
On the experience so far, Thomas says, “I’m working out with Steven Stamkos, James Neal, Jeff Skinner. It’s an amazing group. They really push you.”
Thomas told Ranger Rants, “It’s nice to watch guys like that work out, showing you how hard you have to work. My dad helped me out because he played with Gary. Working out with those guys is incomparable to anywhere else. Gary has a meal service too so I take home meals every day so I can help gain weight. He knows exactly what he’s talking about.”
Wojtek Wolski worked out with Roberts last summer and Michael Del Zotto the season before.
Roberts promotes a strength training approach coupled with healthy eating.
Adam Rotter: This is great news and exactly the kind of thing that Thomas needs. He needs to get stronger and is certainly working with the right people to do it.
Following a season where he had 99 points, including 54 goals, Christian Thomas scored 34 goals and 33 assists last season for Oshawa in the OHL.
Thomas, who is signed to an entry-level contract, is expected to play in Hartford this coming season. He had two points in five regular season games in Hartford and was scoreless in six playoff games.
At Hockey’s Future, Leslie Treff lists Thomas as the Rangers boom or bust prospect citing his immense talent, but also his “lackluster” Traverse City Tournament, size and scoring slumps he had this season.
Tregg writes that Thomas is speedy and has “excellent hockey sense.” At the end of the season, John Tortorella mentioned Thomas as someone he looked forward to seeing in training camp.
Thomas was voted to have the second best shot in the OHL last season.
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