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.
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.
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.”
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.
For a section that has video, scouting reports, stats and stories on Christian Thomas, CLICK HERE.
Over the past two years, the Rangers have added young players such as Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider onto their team and put them in big roles that have helped the Rangers win games.
“I’m not calling spots. I’m not going to call positions. But we’re going to give some of the youth an opportunity. This year was delayed with Hags a little bit. I was hoping he was going to push right from there, I looked at Christian Thomas in camp and was hoping he was going to push. It’s not going to be given, they are going to have to earn their spot.
Torts added, “I think it’s a young man’s game. I do. I think we have some guys that we’re certainly going to give an opportunity to as we start next year. They’ll sink or swim themselves.”
Adam Rotter: The amount of spots open will be determined by the amount of moves the Rangers make and the young players that they keep. Tim Erixon is a front runner to make a full time leap next season and may be the only one. Christian Thomas is interesting, especially since John Tortorella has his eye on him, as he has the one skill this team needs, goal scoring. Dylan McIlrath probably needs time in the AHL, but two guys that I think could push would be Ryan Bourque and JT Miller. Miller had a big season for Plymouth, played for Team USA at the World Juniors and got better in each game at the Traverse City tournament. Bourque is a Tortorella type of player who is relentless on the puck, fast, and models his game after Ryan Callahan. He had an up and down first season in Hartford, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him take a step forward and make a run at a roster spot next season.
At airport waiting for my flight to Hartford! #pumped
— Christian Thomas (@cpt27) April 3, 2012