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NHL Prospect Profile: Akil Thomas

AJ Haefele Avatar
June 15, 2018

Statistics

Scout Quotes

A thick two-way center with a deadly shot and high compete level who also can play the wing, Thomas led all OHL draft-eligible forwards in scoring with 80 points in 68 games. He is used in all situations, but he is most dangerous on the power play thanks to his keen vision and ability to pump shots through traffic. There a few players in his draft class who offer coaches the kind of versatility Thomas provides — he is used to take big draws, kill off an important penalty or run the offense from inside the zone during late/close situations. – The Draft Analyst

Thomas needs to make a few refinements in his game. He should continue to add strength to his frame, work on his shot, and move the puck a bit quicker at times. However, these are all areas that are fixable and coachable. He has high-end offensive talent that can not be taught to a player. As a result, he is a potential top-6 centre in the NHL. – Last Word on Hockey

AJ’s Thoughts

Thomas is a slick and smart player who has some interesting upside. A center for Niagara, I see him as more of a wing in the NHL. He has a nice shot that should be translatable to pro hockey and his 80 points was nothing to scoff at, especially considering he’s not playing for a powerhouse OHL team. He plays hard when he wants to but the effort seems a bit inconsistent, especially defensively.

My concern with him is where he plays in the NHL. Given I don’t think he stays at center, his intrigue drops significantly when viewed as a right wing. His upside is significant because of the role he played for Niagara. He did everything for the IceDogs and his ability to contribute all over the ice is something that teams will value moving forward. He has some versatility and skill but for me the flashes were too inconsistent. I think he’s an intriguing guy later in the first round but at sixteen it might just be a little too rich for my blood.

Highlights

Avalanche Fit

As stated above, at sixteen he’s a little bit of a reach for me but not egregiously so. He’s significantly more valuable if he finds a way to stick at center. His size and skating fit Colorado a little too well. I like his goal-scoring touch and that’s where he really matches up with Colorado’s needs. As a likely future right winger, he ticks the biggest positional need for the Avs. Should Colorado move down a little in the first, he’d be a much more interesting pick but at 16 I think the Avalanche would be better served looking elsewhere.

Rankings

#17 Future Considerations
#27 McKeen’s Hockey

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