It’s that time of year.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs are over, the offseason has officially begun, and everyone is looking towards to the NHL Entry Draft. We have three players eligible and ranked by NHL Central Scouting and we want to take a closer look at your IceDogs players who are eligible to be drafted this week. First up is centreman, and aspiring DJ, Akil Thomas!
Midterm Rank: 10
Final Rank: 15
Akil entered the season projected as a first-round selection in this year’s draft. His stock continued to rise, which saw him jump to #10, among North American skaters, on the NHL Central Scouting Midterm rankings in January. With the final rankings having been released in mid-April, he finished the season ranked #15.
Stats (2017-18 Season)
68 GP, 22 G, 59 A, 81 PTS, 6 +/-, 36 PIM, 6 PPG, 0 SHG, 198 SOG, 3 GWG, 1.19 PTS/G
In fact, he finished the season as the team’s leading scorer. Coming off a career-best season which saw him finish with 22 goals and 81 points, in 68 games played. This shouldn’t come as a surprise though as Akil also posted an impressive rookie season with the Dogs in 2016-17. He was named to the OHL All-Rookie Team and finished fourth in team scoring with 48 points in 61 games played. His point total was also a franchise record for points by a rookie.
While being an offensive force for the team, Akil also took on more leadership responsibilities this past season. He was named an alternate captain alongside IceDogs centre Ben Jones.
His success wasn’t limited to just the IceDogs this year. As a dual citizen, the Florida native had the chance to represent either country internationally. In choosing to represent Canada internationally, Akil was selected as part of Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF U18 Hockey Championship in Slovakia, as an underage forward. Thomas also represented Canada at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. He tied for second in team scoring with 6 points in 5 games played, helping Canada capture the gold medal. He also represented Canada at the 2018 IIHF U18 Hockey Championship in Russia.
When Akil isn’t on the ice, he still has a lot going on. He takes courses at Brock University, owns a clothing line, Zale Apparel, and made a cameo appearance in the film “Soul On ice: Past, Present, and Future”, a film about the history of African-American players in hockey.
So, whether it’s actor, student, entrepreneur, or hockey player, Akil Thomas will make any NHL team very happy at this year’s draft. We’re looking forward to watching him fulfil a lifelong dream to make it to the NHL.
Stay tuned for more draft previews featuring Justin MacPherson and Andrew Bruder!