2018 NHL Draft
Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL)
Steve Kournianos | 03/23/2018 | Nashville | [hupso]
Height / Weight: 6’0, 171 lbs
Born: January 2nd, 2000 | Scarborough, ON
The Draft Analyst Ranking:
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.
Thomas has good straight-line speed and average first-step quickness, but he is elusive and agile within tight spaces. Opponents find difficulty in lining up Thomas for a hit because he makes sharp directional changes and anticipates puck movement extremely well. He’s a cerebral player and an excellent stickhandler with soft hands who positions himself properly to exploit mistakes in the neutral zone. Thomas’s zone entries are calculated, meaning he identifies options beyond barreling through or around opponents. He can slow things down or pivot back in order to find trailers or cutters, and releases for the slot area immediately after connecting with a teammate.
#Hlinka: Niagara RW Akil Thomas (2018 Draft) cashes in late on the PP after Russia survived a lengthy 5-on-3. Canada 3-3 with Russia in 3rd pic.twitter.com/WP07WLmvvN
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) August 7, 2017