It may seem incredibly harsh to suggest Christian Thomas’ time as a legitimate prospect is expiring. However such is the media scrutiny on each individual performance, the impatience of fans and media alike, not to mention the enviable depth the Rangers enjoy that it’s a very real possibility that Christian Thomas is running out of time to make it at the NHL level with the Rangers.
Thomas has been eagerly anticipated by Rangers fans. He was considered a potential cure-all for a club that struggled to score goals; anticipated especially given his blood lines (an overrated obsession in North American sports) and his OHL junior career that was littered with impressive goal scoring seasons. Something however, happened a long the way. Whether it was the drafting of guys such as JT Miller or the accelerated development of Chris Kreider, Thomas has been a little forgotten about. It hasn’t helped him that the Rangers have continued to unearth prospects such as Marek Hrivik and Kyle Jean.
Thomas clearly has skill, and is a natural goal scorer but with the Rangers top six a long way off (especially given the players currently in possession of those spots) Thomas needs to do something special to force his way in. His transition to life in the pros hasn’t been the smoothest and given the assumption that he needs to be on a scoring line to thrive, Thomas – all 5’9 of him – appears to be running out of both time and opportunity to reignite his career with the Rangers franchise.
As modest as it is, Thomas currently has a two game point streak and three points (1 goal) in his last four; it’s something for him to cling to. He needs to build on that form and make himself a consistent offensive contributor for Whale and take his development step by step. The Rangers are a long way off right now, but if he can start to score at the AHL level with regularity then who knows what may happen. Thomas, in the first instance, needs to go back to shooting the puck as he has just 7 shots on the season so far. Not enough for a guy that is known for his impressive finishing ability, not enough for a guy that was once tabbed with being a future Rangers goalscorer.