Ontario Reign’s Coach Wrobo: Akil Thomas is “Like an Avalanche”

OSHAWA, ON - JANUARY 31: Akil Thomas #44 of the Peterborough Petes skates during an OHL game against the Oshawa General at the Tribute Communities Centre on January 31, 2020 in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)
OSHAWA, ON - JANUARY 31: Akil Thomas #44 of the Peterborough Petes skates during an OHL game against the Oshawa General at the Tribute Communities Centre on January 31, 2020 in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images) /
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During the Ontario Reign’s end-of-season media availability this week, head coach John Wroblewski spoke very highly of Akil Thomas.

When they drafted him in 2018, the LA Kings had high hopes for Akil Thomas, and rightfully so. A highly skilled center who possesses great speed and exceptional puck control, the Toronto native certainly has enough tangibles to show that he will be a successful pro. This past season was his first season as a pro, garnering immediate success for the Ontario Reign.

Earlier this week, the Reign had their end-of-season media availability and among other reflections on the season that was, head coach John Wroblewski took some time to speak about Thomas — very highly, mind you.

“He’s an interesting one because he’s sort of like an avalanche,” Coach Wrobo said. “He just kind of keeps rolling along, doesn’t ever make any mistakes, never gets stopped, and then he makes four elite plays a game that sometimes [goes] slightly unnoticed because it’s a deft play with a flip pass or just a bump play on the power play — something just extremely unique and heady.”

After four seasons in the OHL — mainly with the Niagara Ice Dogs — Thomas began his professional career this year with the AHL’s Ontario Reign. Of course, like most players around the world, Thomas hadn’t played a game in nearly a year entering this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, how he’d fare at the pro level was anyone’s guess. The 21-year-old, though, didn’t give his new team any reason to worry.

In 40 games for the Reign this past season, Thomas scored 11 goals and 15 assists, further showcasing his aforementioned speed and puck control ability. But, this is only scratched the surface for Coach Wrobo.

“There [were] also the nights where he racks up the hat-trick or the three assists and is the game-changer in addition to playing his overall style of game,” Wroblewski continued. “So very, very impressed by his rookie year and with a couple more steps, a couple steps quicker, a little more power to his stride, he could someday push for a spot with Kings.”

In addition to his aforementioned skills, Thomas is known to be a strong forechecker, and he showed that this season. So, even though his 6-foot, 180-pound frame may not instill much fear from his opponents, the former Peterborough Pete has nonetheless shown that he doesn’t need to be the biggest guy on the ice to produce.

What his chances are of making the Kings next season are unclear at this juncture, but with the 2020-21 season now under his belt, Akil Thomas has established himself as a solid piece of the club’s future regardless.