• The St. Croix Watch
Monday was a big day for two Rangers prospects, as both Christian Thomas
and Michael St. Croix
were named Players of the Week n their respective major-junior leagues.
Thomas, who had a natural hat trick and scored nine points in two Oshawa Generals wins, was the Ontario Hockey League's Player of the Week for Week 11 of the season. A two-time winner of the award last season, when he scored 54 goals, Thomas is displaying the form that made him one of the league's top players in 2011-12 and will likely land him on this year's Canadian World Junior Championship team.
St. Croix, a 2011 Rangers draft pick, earned Western Hockey League Player of the Week honors after picking up eight points and plus-5 rating in three games with the Edmonton Oil Kings. St. Croix is the highest-scoring Rangers prospect in the Canadian Hockey League this season with 41 points in 29 games.
Both Thomas and St. Croix are now eligible to be named Canadian Hockey League Player of the Week as the top players in major-junior hockey over the past seven days.
Thomas' remarkable run of two games saw him score three goals and six assists with a plus-minus rating of plus-6. The back-to-back Generals' wins were Thomas' two best offensive games of the season.
On Friday night, Thomas recorded a five-point game as No. 1 star of an 8-4 win over the Sarnia Sting. In that contest he recorded a natural hat-trick in the first period -- scoring all three goals in a span of 3:34. He also picked up two third-period assists in quick succession.
Thomas ended his week with the first four-assist game of his career as second star of a big 9-1 win on Sunday over East Division rivals the Peterborough Petes.
The 19-year-old son of former NHL star Steve Thomas was selected by the Rangers in the second round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He is playing in his fourth OHL season and has 11 goals and 13 assists for 24 points in 20 games to date. Thomas has also been invited to Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp, which opens Dec. 10 in Calgary.
St. Croix's eight-point week helped Edmonton to a perfect 3-0-0 record. At home against Spokane on Nov. 29, St. Croix scored one goal, added two assists and was named the No. 1 Star in the Oil Kings' 4-1 win over the Chiefs. Two nights later, he collected one assist in the Oil Kings' 6-1 home victory over the Calgary Hitmen. When the Oil Kings welcomed the Saskatoon Blades on Sunday, St. Croix responded with two goals and two assists and was named games 1st Star as the Oil Kings down the Blades 8-3.
St. Croix, 18, currently sits 11th overall among all WHL scorers with 41 points (16 goals, 25 assists) in 29 games played. The Oil Kings have won six straight games and are second in the WHL Central Division and Eastern Conference with an 18-8-3 record.
A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the son of a former NHL goaltender, St. Croix is in his third full season with the Oil Kings. He was the fourth overall selection in the 2008 WHL Draft and Rangers' fourth-round pick at last June's NHL Entry Draft.