2021-22 Team: Ontario Reign
Date of Birth: January 2, 2000
Place of Birth: Toronto, ON, CAN
Wt: 195 pounds
Acquired: 2018 NHL Draft #51 overall
Akil Thomas Bio
Akil Thomas played his youth hockey for the Toronto Marlboros. He had an eye-catching U16 season, scoring 33 goals and 39 assists in 56 games. His play impressed the Niagara IceDogs, who selected him 12th overall at the 2016 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Priority Selection.
In his first season with the IceDogs, Thomas recorded 21 goals and 27 assists in 61 games. He followed that up with an even better performance in his pre-draft season, putting up 22 goals and 59 assists in 68 games. At the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, the Los Angeles Kings selected him in the second round, 51st overall. He was a steal, considering many ranked him to go in the first round.
Thomas reassured the Kings of their choice by continuing his upward trend in the OHL; in the 2018-19 season, he pushed his point totals further, with 38 goals and 64 assists through 63 games. Despite being traded from Niagara to the Peterborough Petes in the 2019-20 season, he still managed to score a whopping 24 goals and 60 assists in 49 games. He also competed for Team Canada at the 2020 World Junior Championship (WJC). Even though he only scored one goal and one assist in the seven games, he made his contributions count, scoring the gold medal-winning goal.
The 2020-21 season was Thomas’s first professional campaign. With the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Ontario Reign, he put up 11 goals and 25 assists in 40 games. This season, he has struggled to score, with two assists in 23 games. He battled through injury to start the season, however, so he will look to recover his scoring touch along with his health.
Thomas is a complete player: an elite skater who makes good decisions in all situations. As demonstrated by his point totals, he is more of a playmaker, but there is no doubt that he still has scoring ability, putting his outstanding skating to use.
There isn’t a lot to complain about when it comes to Thomas’s play. When he was drafted, his biggest weaknesses were his size, strength, and physical play. Since then, that side of his game has developed and will continue to get better as he gets older.
While Thomas is listed as a center, he could move to the wing if he is going to be a part of the Kings’ future; LA is loaded down the middle, and shifting him to the wing should allow him to get more opportunities and balance the lineup. As far as lineup projections go, he could be a middle-six forward or even top-six if he rebounds from his injury and continues to improve.
Thomas can be compared to a slew of playmaking forwards, like Josh Bailey, David Krejci, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. With over 2,500 games played and over 1,700 points combined, these players have put together outstanding careers as passers before shooters, and Thomas will look to do the same.
Good skating C, plays all situations & point on the PP, slick puck skill & great vision.ISS Hockey
If you like your scoring centers to be consistent, Akil Thomas is your prospect. The highest scoring U18 player in the OHL – and second only to Andrei Svechnikov on points per game – Thomas never went more than two consecutive games without getting his name on the scoresheet. The right shot center plays a very versatile game. He does not always ger points for visible intensity, but he can and does contribute to every type of situation. As he has improved his strength over the last two years, he has gained some explosiveness to his stride. Although he sometimes seems to glide, he has great edges that he employs to be elusive in the offensive end. Another area in which he has improved greatly in the last season was in his two-way game.McKeen’s Hockey
He’s the facilitator, he’s a playmaker. It was nice to see him get as many goals as he got this year – that was certainly good. I wouldn’t say ‘surprising,’ but maybe unexpected. But on the power play, he’s a set-up guy. He makes a lot of cross-ice passes, a lot of seam passes to get you opportunities. When he played with [2019 draft prospect Philip] Tomasino, he helped [Tomasino] out quite a bit. He’s the one who distributes the puck. For the most part he’s the one who makes those plays for offense, the set-up type plays. That’s been the majority of his role, but he’s certainly rounded out his goal-scoring game and I’d still like to see him go another step, but he’s taken a little bit more of an individual role in terms of not passing up his shot as much as he did in the past.Mark Yannetti, Kings Director of Amateur Scouting, on Thomas
Zackary Weiner is a high school student from New York City who covers the Los Angeles Kings here at The Hockey Writers. He is a lifelong hockey fan and player, and his previous experience includes writing articles about the NHL for various online publications. His articles cover a wide variety of topics that concern the Kings and he takes into account a range of viewpoints, making his articles a perfect read for anyone who wants to stay up to date on the team. Zackary is more than happy to get into a conversation with fellow Kings fans, so feel free to leave a comment below any of his articles like this one to let him know your opinion and what you want to see next. You can also listen to him talk about the team on Fantasy Hockey Life, The Hockey Writers Live, and Blackhawks Banter.