Akil Thomas, a center from the Niagara IceDogs, was selected by the Kings in the second round. Thomas was initially projected to be drafted in the late first round — some mock drafts even suggested he’d go to the Kings with their 20th pick. So he may have dropped a round, but fell to the Kings all the same.
Thomas is known as an all-around player who plays in all situations for Niagara. In his second year, Thomas was an alternate captain for his team and was second in scoring, with 81 points over 68 games. And although Thomas was born in Florida, he’s also a Canadian citizen and has played on Canada’s World Juniors roster for the past two seasons.
He also has his own clothing line, which has nothing to do with his hockey skills, but which is a pretty cool bit of trivia.
Need To Know
- Strong two way game
- Good at speed changes to evade hits
- NHL-level speed
- High work ethic/compete level
- Expanding his playmaking skills at the center position
Future Considerations: 17
ISS Hockey: 27
TSN/Bob McKenzie: 28
What stands out about Thomas is his leadership and work ethic. He is a tireless worker who is always striving to get better at both ends of the ice. In live viewings of him, he was out in all situations, including power play, penalty kill and end of game. He can effectively play both as a center and on the wing.
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.
On the offensive side of the game, Thomas has some good hands, but his distribution skills are his main asset. He has a good vision of the ice that allows him to quickly see teammates in scoring positions and feed the puck to them. He is accurate in his passes and can also open space for others with his work low in the offensive zone. On occasion, he can manipulate defenders’ sticks to open passing lanes to the slot.
He is extremely effective on the powerplay as he can fill a variety of roles. Place him on the half boards and he will have the puck run through him. Place him in front and he will use his active feet and quick hands to get second and third chances. That versatility allowed him to produce throughout the entire year with the man advantage.