This isn’t the time to be asking Kings prospect Akil Thomas what he’s thankful for.
Mayor’s Manor has learned the 22-year-old forward is set to have season-ending surgery following an injury suffered in Henderson last Saturday on this play:
Originally selected by Los Angeles in the second round of the 2018 NHL Draft, Thomas returned to action last December after having double shoulder surgery in the summer of 2021. Although that was said to be nothing serious at the time — largely just cleaning up lingering issues that had been bothering him since his OHL days — in some respects, it was unfortunate timing. Coming off the season that had just ended, Thomas was tabbed as Most Likely to Breakout in 2021-22. From the Ontario Regin Postseason Awards:
Had it not been for Kaliyev and Byfield stealing most of the headlines this season, Thomas would be the big story of 2021. Another of Ontario’s first-year players, he more than held his own, finishing second on the team in goals (11) and points (26). Additionally, his .65 PPG were just a smidge better than Byfield’s .63 and on par with Alex Turcotte’s .66 PPG. Thomas just quietly went about his business and placed top-10 in AHL rookie scoring. He also ended the regular season with a seven-game point streak and scored the first goal for Ontario in their post-season play-in game.
Optimism was again high coming into this season, after the way Thomas ended his last campaign. As expected it took some time get up and running again following the aforementioned surgeries. Down the stretch, he was arguably one of Ontario’s best players. He scored eight goals in the final 15 regular season games and scored in three of the team’s four playoff games.
A favorite of every coach he’s played for at the pro level, Thomas has been wearing an ‘A’ on his jersey for the Ontario Reign of late. His leadership on the ice will definitely be missed, as coach Marco Sturm continues to forge an identity and rhythm with his new club.
Last time around, recovery for Thomas’ shoulder surgery was around four months. As such, we’re not expecting him back and ready for game action again until training camp next September.
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— The Mayor | Team MM (@mayorNHL) November 25, 2022
Lead photo via Mike Zitek
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