The London Knights are consistently the cream of the OHL crop, so when one of their better players is included in prospect rankings, you tend to notice.
Enter centre Robert Thomas.
The Aurora, Ont., native scored 16 goals and 50 assists, totalling a point per contest over 66 regular-season games.
Here’s a closer look at him.
Age on June 23: 17
From: Aurora, Ont.
Current Team: London Knights, OHL
Weight: 187 pounds
NHL Central Scouting Rank (North America): 22
Jeff Marek’s Take: “A strong, two-way player who reminds many of another former London Knight, Bo Horvat.”
At just 17, Thomas has already had some serious exposure to championship environments.
During the 2015-16 season he won gold for Canada at the under-17 World Hockey Championship and was also part of the Knights team that captured the OHL championship and the Memorial Cup.
MEM CUP CHAMPS BABYYYYYY!!!!! #nobetterfeeling #dreamcometrue
763 Likes, 39 Comments – Robert Thomas (@robert_thomas9) on Instagram: “MEM CUP CHAMPS BABYYYYYY!!!!! #nobetterfeeling #dreamcometrue”
He seems to embrace pressure, as evidenced by his quotes to The London Free Press in 2015 upon joining the Knights.
“There’s always lots of pressure but you try and use it positively,” Thomas said. “I just really want to develop myself and get used to the playing style in the OHL because it’s a lot faster and bigger.
“It’s up to me to really decide how much I really want it. I think if I work hard I can accomplish my goal.”
Thomas spent most of the 2016-17 season as London’s No. 2 centre behind top Sabres prospect Cliff Pu. It was his second season in the OHL and Thomas took full advantage of the increased responsibilities placed on him.
He played in 66 games, compared to 40 the previous season, and saw massive spikes in his numbers, with his point total rising to 66 from 15 and his shots on goal jumping to 127 from from 29. Thomas also ranked ninth in the league in plus-minus (plus-41) and 11th in faceoffs won (632).
He’s gaining a reputation as a smart, two-way player, too, earning that in part through his solid work as one of the Knights’ top penalty-killers this past season.