This week, we’ll focus attention on a defenseman that is creating a spark in the Western Hockey League: Ben Thomas. The Calgary, Alberta, native was selected in the fourth round, 119th overall, at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder played two full seasons with the Calgary Hitmen where he scored seven goals and put up 24 assists in each of the past two seasons with the club. During the 2014 WHL playoffs, Thomas scored six points (one goal, five assists) in six playoff games before the Hitmen were eliminated by the Kootenay Ice. This season, he compiled three assists in 14 games before he was traded to the Vancouver Giants.
“There was an adjustment period,” Giants head coach Lorne Molleken said. “Once he got through, that’s where you can see his play grow and develop.”
In fact, seven has been the lucky number in the goal column as he has already scored seven goals with the Giants along with putting up 15 assists through 43 games.
When asked about his upside, Molleken had praise for the Lightning prospect. “He plays on both sides with or without the puck,” Molleken said. “He competes extremely hard.”
This past week, Thomas’ play excelled as he scored the lone goal in the Giants 1-0 victory on Monday night against the Edmonton Oil Kings. He also added an assist last Friday against his former team, the Hitmen.
“He’s been a really good asset,” Molleken said. “His compete level is excellent and he has a good hockey sense.
The versatile defenseman is on pace to record a career year, which will be a huge boost to his development. Molleken commended his ability to play in every situation and his overwhelming potential. “He has the skillset where he can play at the next level,” Molleken said.