The Canadiens announced the signing of Christian Thomas to a one-year two-way contract on Thursday. The fact that he, along with last year’s Hamilton Bulldogs captain Gabriel Dumont and defenceman Morgan Ellis were only given one year deals indicates that they are sliding down the Canadiens depth chart and running out of time and space to prove themselves as NHL prospects.
Thomas is an indirect relic of the Canadiens forgettable draft class of 2008. He came to the Canadiens from the New York Rangers in return for Danny Kristo, the Habs first pick of that draft,
Kristo may have been Montreal’s first pick, but because Bob Gainey had traded his first rounder to Calgary for Alex Tanguay, the selection of Kristo didn’t come until late in the second round (56th overall). The Canadiens drafted five in 2008. Not one of their picks has played a game in the NHL and they’re not likely to.
Thomas is only 5’9” but the Canadiens liked his outstanding speed and a hard shot which he used to score 54 goals one junior season in Oshawa. For those reasons, they traded for him only a month after Kristo had signed his first Canadiens contract. Thomas hasn’t been able to come anywhere close to being offensively productive in his two seasons at Hamilton; scoring 11 and 16 goals.. However, unlike Kristo in the Rangers organization, the Canadiens have given Thomas two tastes of NHL hockey including an 18 game stint last season in which he scored his first and only goal.
When a goalscorer doesn’t produce goals, the leash eventually gets short. Thomas, along with Dumont and Ellis, have one contractual year to figure things out.
The Canadiens 2008 Draft Choices
1st round – (25th) traded to Calgary for Alex Tanguay – Flames drafted RW Greg Nemisz (AHL Charlotte last season)
2nd round (56th) RW Danny Kristo – traded for Thomas – AHL Hartford last season
3rd round (86th) LW Steve Quailer – ECHL Idaho last season
4th round (116th) G Jason Missiaen – ECHL Greenville last season
5th round (138th RW Maxim Trunev – KHL Cherepovets last season (still on Canadiens Negotiation list)
7th round (206th) C Patrick Johnson – out of hockey