Saturday, February 14, 2015

Christian Thomas Autograph Swatch Card

Earlier this week, in a game against the Edmonton Oilers, Christian Thomas scored his first NHL goal in his 15th NHL game (spread over three seasons), a top-corner wrister on Viktor Fasth.

The 40th-overall pick of the 2010 draft used to be viewed as a sure-shot NHL top-line scorer, with his size (5'9'', 175 pounds) being the only deterrent from his being chosen in the first round; I remember that year being the one when I returned to teaching young goalies locally and scouts coming by to watch the kids I was with being very high on him. For two consecutive seasons, OHL coaches voted him ''most dangerous in the goal area'' and a runner-up for best shot and hardest shot. His 94 goals over his final two seasons in Juniors were the most in the OHL, and he was part of a trade that sent John Tavares and Michael Del Zotto going the other way.

He and father (former Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks star) Steve Thomas are to this day the only father-and-son duo to each have had 50-goal seasons in the OHL.

So far, his scoring prowess hasn't exactly translated either in the AHL (20 goals and 37 points in 78 games) or in the NHL (his first goal was also his first point), but what I have seen from these past two seasons in the Montréal Canadiens organization is a tireless worker with very good speed, and the fourth line he's currently sharing duties on with Michael Bournival could eventually become a heck of a third line, seeing as both have speed and create a lot of chances; their play against Toronto tonight boxed the Leafs' first line in their own zone for a good chunk of the third period of a 1-1 tie; on the one hand, hey, it's the Leafs, but on the other, well, they're still just kids in their early 20s dominating against veteran adults, doing everything but scoring. It was really something.

Originally drafted by the New York Rangers, his only game playing for the Blueshirts was against the Habs, so every NHL game he's been involved in so far has included Montréal. He has represented Team Canada twice - at the U-17s (2009, gold medal) and U-18s (2010).

Most cards I had of his had him wearing the Rangers' uniform, so I traded for this one over the summer, showing him in the Canadiens' classic white (now-away) uniform, from Panini's 2013-14 Rookie Anthology collection (card #163, part of the Rookie Selection and Dual Rookie Class sub-sets, numbered 200/299):
Obviously, the wrinkle on top is from the penny sleeve. The card contains two red event-worn swatches but judging from the black puck-like stain on the one on top, my guess is the event was a pre-season game. It also contains a blue-sharpied on-sticker autograph.

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