August is never really a great month for big NHL news, its the dog days of summer and trying to find good news or analysis is like trying to find water in the Sahara Desert. But what is going on right now are the prospect camps for both USA Hockey and Hockey Canada's WJC teams.
We all know about JT Miller being named to the try out roster for Team USA, but Christian Thomas was invited to the Hockey Canada WJC camp and according to reports has looked impressive in the Red vs White scrimmages. Thomas is competing against the likes of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jonathan Huberdeau and Sean Couterier for roster spots on next year's World Junior Championships team.
If Christian has a solid development camp with Hockey Canada it could give him a big boost heading into the Rangers camp starting later this month. While the organization has said that Thomas will be getting a long, hard look at Thomas while he is in camp I do not think it means that he a lock by any means to make the team.
My expectation for Thomas is for him to have a strong development camp with both Hockey Canada and the Rangers (as well as have a good Traverse City tournament) but he will be sent back to the OHL to show that he can put up another 40+ goal season and so that he can participate in the WJC for Team Canada.
Take the dive for my in depth thoughts on Thomas and why I think he needs this one more season in the OHL and why the WJC will be a big step in his development
Christian Thomas has game breaking talent, putting up 50+ goals in the OHL is nothing to sneeze at, as well as putting up 19 points (9 goals and 10 assists) in 10 playoff games for the Oshawa Generals. The kid has a great shot and knows how to go to the net while playing a north-south style of game, his vision and hockey sense are all top notch for a 19 year old prospect.
But that's just it, CT is still a prospect, albeit a top flight prospect. He has all the tools and all the weapons but he still has to learn how to put all of it together and the NHL is not the place for a kid fresh out of the OHL to try and "put it all together", Michael Del Zotto can attest to that.
Now on to the WJC, we all know that the tournament features some of the best young talent in hockey and that these kids come to play. Its a good high intensity test for young prospects to see how they perform in such a high intensity, short series tournament. We've seen how other Ranger prospects fared in the WJC, Derek Stepan alone was one of the best players in the 2010 tournament and the Rangers contingent made a big impact for the gold medal winning Team USA.
To put it all together, this upcoming season could be a very productive one for Thomas if he stays with the OHL and participates in the World Juniors. Yes he put up 50 goals in the OHL, but so did Ryan Callahan who did it in his last year in the OHL, I'm not comparing the two because they are two different player types, but Thomas has the skill to repeat that as he is expected to.
Alright guys what are your thoughts?