Ben Thomas is on a roll. The young blue liner for the Calgary Hitmen in the Western Hockey League has six points in his past seven games. Thomas currently sits second on the team for points by a defenseman with 23. Of the five goals that he’s potted this season, three have come on the power play, where he has demonstrated a good knack for finding open shooting lanes and getting shots from the point through. If he can keep up his strong play, he will easily surpass his career highs from last season.
The Lightning selected Thomas in the fourth round, 199th overall, at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Thomas is a two-way defenseman with good mobility and decent offensive skills but also is responsible defensively. He has good vision on the ice. Recently, Thomas hit a teammate streaking down the wing for a go-ahead shorthanded goal. That type of poise and confidence will help him as he continues to develop.
The Calgary, Alberta, native is in his third season with the Hitmen. During the 2013-14 season, Thomas skated in 72 games and recorded seven goals along with 31 points. He was also a plus-11 on the season, a credit to his staunch defensive abilities. Following the conclusion of his WHL campaign, he was selected to represent Canada at the World Under 18 tournament, where he helped the team capture a bronze medal.
Before joining the Hitmen in the WHL, Thomas spent two seasons in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (Jr. A). He split the 2012-13 season with the Calgary Mustangs and Calgary Canucks. Skating in 12 games with the Mustangs, Thomas recorded one goal. He finished the season with the Canucks and recorded four goals and seven points in 31 games.