Though he was just sent back to the London Knights to compete in the OHL again this year, the St. Louis Blues have signed Robert Thomas to a three-year entry-level contract. Thomas was the team’s first pick in the recent entry draft, selected 20th-overall.
At the beginning of the 2016-17 season, the London Knights were looking for someone to step up in the absence of some of their big names. Mitch Marner, Christian Dvorak and Matthew Tkachuk were all headed to the NHL, leaving a gaping hole for someone to step into. Thomas was one of those who pounced on the opportunity, exploding to 66 points in 66 games as a 17-year old. He became a reliable member of the Knights’ powerplay, and showed off his elite playmaking ability with 50 assists on the year.
While Thomas wasn’t expected to make the NHL for some time, there is reason to believe it may come in relatively short order. In training camp he showed perfectly capable of keeping up with professional players, scoring twice in the preseason and creating several offensive chances. He’s not big, but can handle himself at the OHL level and should fill out even more by the time he has to crack the pro ranks. Though Cliff Pu (Buffalo) will be back in London as well, J.J. Piccinich (Toronto) will not, giving Thomas even more opportunity to contribute offensively. It could be a big year for him, before trying to compete for a spot in training camp again next fall.