Thomas and McColgan look to make impact

Amid the hullabaloo of the President’s trophy race and the playoff shake down was the fact two Rangers draft picks played their first pro games this past weekend for the CT Whale. Christian Thomas, fresh from the Oshawa Generals, and Shane McColgan from the Kelowna Rockets both debuted in the 3-0 loss to Wilkes-Barre and will likely play out the AHL season dressed as members of the Whale.

While both players should benefit from the experience it (the end of this season, playoffs inclusive) could become a pivotal period for Christian Thomas. McColgan, drafted in 2011 has more time on his side. Thomas however, will have seen guys like Carl Hagelin establish themselves quickly in New York and won’t have missed the way the Rangers have pursued Chris Kreider for his contract signature.

Thomas who was drafted in 2010, a year earlier than McColgan, needs to make an impact sooner rather than later to avoid possibly being the forgotten prospect. Many believe Thomas was a victim of the rulebook and that his year spent in the OHL last season slowed up his development. Due to league rules Thomas wasn’t able to go to Connecticut as hoped.

Thomas was considered ready for the AHL last year and the momentum he would have carried from his 50 goal junior season back then has surely gone. While he produced a solid year (just gone) for a middling Oshawa side he didn’t nearly have the same kind of success or impact.

Thomas could still be a quality player and a success for the Rangers. His main issue may be those prospects around him making the Rangers before him and reducing his chance to land in New York, making him expendable. It may already have happened. His perhaps tenuous position in the franchise is more likely a result of quality depth among prospects than it is about him personally.

Thomas has been held scoreless and registered one shot in his first two games as a Whale member. McColgan was -1 and hasn’t registered a shot and both players have another three regular season games to try and make an immediate impact for the Whale. It will be interesting to monitor the kids in the minors even when the big club is trying to make playoff noise themselves.

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  1. I wouldn’t get too carried away with Thomas possibly being a forgotten prospect. If he starts producing anywhere near the way he did in Juniors, then there is always roster space for a scoring forward. I expect him to start in Connecticut next year and possibly play the whole season there to get used to the bigger bodies in pro hockey. He has genes on his side, given that his father overcame the size issue and Christian is more highly skilled. It is alao tough to ignore that he keeps on getting voted near the top of ‘best shot’ voting in the OHL.

  2. It is a stretch to imply his time with the NYR is “tenuous.” Perhaps one full season in the AHL with little to show for would justify this, but Thomas’ future is no different than one year ago. I am sure the success P.A. Parenteau has not been lost on the Rangers. He was deemed to have been at an inflection point with his career and it unfortunately came when Tortorella was hard pressed to establish his lineup. I am sure the Rangers would have liked his 67 points and power play prowess this season.

    As long as Thomas produces, his future is bright.

  3. Guys, there is the potential for him to be left in the wake of others. Hagelin has been a revelation for the most part. If Kreider has a great start he’s right in the mix for top 6 playing time. There’s not a huge amount to go around.

    Thomas has a great deal of talent and I recognise the ‘best shot’ acknowledgements but lets also acknowledge he needs to do well quickly in the AHL.

  4. This is good for Thomas.

    With the play of some players on the roster. He has a shot of sticking in training camp.

    Mitchell, Prust, Boyle, Dubi, AA, Tank, and Rupp did not have stellar years. Of this group I would give Prust, Boyle, and AA the benefit of the doubt, but that still leaves some gaps in the roster. Kreider, Borque, MZA, and Thomas could bust up the party.

    I think this may be the year of the prospect. Can they get any younger, you bet they can.

    1. Thomas still has a good chance to crack the Rangers lineup down the road, but it won’t be at the expense of our defensive forwards or bruisers. At his size and skill set, Thomas is a top 6 or bust player. He’s not going to come in and replace Boyle, Prust, Rupp, etc. Completely different roles.

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