As announced before, I got the opportunity to have a chat with New York Rangers' top-prospect Christian Thomas for an exclusive interview. Before we begin I would just like to once again thank the New York Rangers and both John Rosasco and Brendan McIntyre for helping make this happen.
Just a few quick thoughts before we get to the interview.
The biggest feeling I got from talking to Thomas was that he's a kind that simply gets it. As you'll see in the interview below, he makes it very clear that working hard is the biggest aspect of making an NHL roster. He has a solid support system surrounding him, and he truly understands what it takes to make the team out of camp. I was very impressed with his poise and confidence, even though it's just a phone interview, and can already tell you that he has the mindset of an NHL player.
Anyway, enough out of me, join me after the jump for the interview!
Joe Fortunato: What was the biggest difference maker between your 09-10 season in the OHL and your 10-11 season?
Christian Thomas: I would say each year in the league, with it being my third year last year, I had more confidence. I set a few goals for myself, and one of my main goals was to score 50 goals, something that I completed, but we had a better team last year and I had a good year.
Joe Fortunato: What are some of your goals for this upcoming season?
Christian Thomas: I have a year under my belt, so I know what to expect coming into Traverse City and the main camp. But my number one goal this year is to make the New York Rangers. I've worked hard this summer, I've been working as hard as I can in camp to try and open some eyes and show them I belong there.
Joe Fortunato: How have you been able to keep your focus with everything that's going on right now (Team Canada camp, Traverse City, training camp)?
Christian Thomas: I'm just working hard every day, taking it one day at a time. I'm training very hard this summer and I'm skaing and doing everything I can do to prepare myself for camp.
Joe Fortunato: What are you doing to prepare yourself for training camp?
Christian Thomas: I'm just trying to work much harder than last year. Training camp is extremely tough, so I'm just working on my conditioning, my strength and I'm trying to put some weight on. I'm a smaller guy, so strength is probably the biggest thing I'm working on. But I'm trying to work on everything in general so I can just be better than last year.
Joe Fortunato: What did you take from the Team Canada training sessions you just completed?
Christian Thomas: There is 47 of the best 18 and 19-year-old Canadian guys there. It's really tough competition there. It's really high tempo hockey which is kind of like how it is at the Rangers camp, although it's probably higher at training camp. I just worked really hard there so I can bring that work ethic to training camp.
Joe Fortunato: What is the best attribute you bring to the table as a hockey player?
Christian Thomas: I would say my work ethic is up there. But my shot is one of my best things. My speed and putting all that together is my best attributes.
Joe Fortunato: What is it like having a dad who played in the NHL before you?
Christian Thomas: Having a dad that played 20 years in the NHL is huge for me. He let's me know how hard it is to make the league and how hard you have to work on and off the ice to do it. Everything frome ating to sleeping and time put in.
Joe Fortunato: What did it feel like becoming the first father son duo to score 50 goals in the OHL? (Note: For those of you who don't know, when Thomas scored his 50th goal last season he and his father because the first father son pair in OHL history to both score 50 goals. Pretty cool stuff.)
Christian Thomas: To become the first father some duo to score 50 goals was huge. I actually wasn't aware of it until I scored the 50th goal, but for me to be with my dad in a historic thing like that was awesome.
Joe Fortunato: Who is your favorite hockey player?
Christian Thomas: Pavel Datsyuk, he works so hard and has all the skill in the world. He makes something happen every shift he's out there.
Joe Fortunato: Which NHL player do you think your game resembles?
Christian Thomas: Maybe a guy like Mike Cammalleri. He works really hard, he's quick and has a great shot.
Thoughts on all this guys?