If you look at some of the top offensive centres currently in the NHL, many were drafted late in the first round or fell into the second round. Thomas Novak of the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks could end up in that group.
Here’s what you need to know about the talented American.
Age on June 26: 18
Birthplace: River Falls, Wis.
Current Team: Waterloo Black Hawks, USHL
Weight: 180 pounds
Twitter account: @paraloschicos15
NHL Central Scouting Rank (North American): 28th
Marek’s Take: A really solid passing centre who helped improve linemate Brock Boeser’s draft stock. A little slight but has really quick feet knows how to handle the puck. Comparable: Tyler Bozak
He can’t rely only on his talent…
Like many young NHL prospects, growing up Novak was usually the most talented player on his team and a star in whichever league he competed. If he hopes to continue that trend in the NHL, he can’t rest on his laurels.
“Like most players that make that jump, he needs to play harder on a more consistent basis,” NHL Central Scouting’s Greg Rajanen told NHL.com in November. “However, he is making strides in that area.”
If Novak applies himself, it’s possible he can become a star because his raw talent is apparent.
“He has Patrick Kane-like hands and puck handling ability,” Rajanen added. “He has quick hands. He’s quick out of the blocks in all directions and handles the puck very well with creative puck play seen. He’s a point-producer type.”
That comparison to Kane is high praise and something Novak will enjoy since he calls Kane his favourite NHL player.
He was a high school star…
In three years at St. Thomas Academy in Minnesota, where he was teammates with Nashville Predators 2014 second-round pick Jack Dougherty, Novak helped lead his school to two state championships. In 75 career high school games he registered an impressive 151 points and scored the winning goal in the 2013 championship game and celebrated like a boss by Tebowing on the ice.
He won’t be in the NHL next year…
Novak has committed to playing at the University of Minnesota in the fall where he’ll play under head coach Don Lucia. Defenceman Mike Reilly, currently a coveted UFA, was a notable player from that program last season.
He likes John Mayer…
If you think about it, though, who doesn’t?
He has other interesting tastes as well…