Kelowna Rockets defenseman Lassi Thomson has made significant strides in his game over the past few seasons. The first time I saw him play was with Ilves U16 in the 2015-16 season and I came away impressed. I liked his puck moving ability, vision and shot.
However, his skating did not stand out nearly as much and that’s the area where he has taken the biggest steps in my opinion. He has improved his quickness and mobility quite a bit, to the point where his skating can be considered a real strength. Thomson made his debut for the U18 national team last season and has made a smooth adjustment to the WHL this season.
A mobile and skilled defenseman who plays with high intensity, Thomson’s style of play suits well for WHL’s tough and physical game. He also possesses a good slap shot which makes him a dangerous shooter from the point. He has smooth hands and can maneuver with the puck at high speeds. As evidence, Thomson scored a highlight reel goal in October where he went end to end.
Lassi Thomson with a terrific individual effort in the WHL last night. He now has seven goals to lead all defensemen in the league. #2019NHLDraft #WHL #Ilves pic.twitter.com/8kVYcBRSZN
— Finnish Jr Hockey (@FINjrhockey) October 28, 2018
Adam Foote, the head coach of the Kelowna Rockets and two-time Stanley Cup winner, has high praise for Thomson in this excellent article from The Hockey Writers’ Larry Fisher:
“He’s got a lot of tools. He’s got some advantages, and watching him so much, he really plays engaged. It doesn’t matter who his opponent is, he’s going to go for it. His compete is awesome, it’s off the charts. His motor is just running all the time at that high, high level, and it’s starting to rub off on the rest of our team.”
The 6’0″ blueliner is currently 17th in WHL defenseman scoring with 22 points in 33 games. His seven goals are tied for third most among the league’s defensemen. Here’s a chart from Prospect-Stats which shows where he ranks in different stats in the entire league.
Thomson will be participating in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January. He was also recently named to Team Finland preliminary roster for the World Juniors. The CHL Top Prospects Game will be a great opportunity for Thomson to continue his rise in front of a number of NHL scouts. While it remains to be seen whether Thomson makes the World Juniors team, the start to his career in North America has been a very promising one. It wouldn’t be a surprise if an NHL team invests a first round pick in the highly talented defenseman.