Photo via NHL.com
It’s not uncommon to see more than one highly-touted, draft-eligible prospect on the same team. Teams building for a championship try to load up on players peaking around the same time. Also, scouts looking at one player start to notice other guys on the same team too.
The Waterloo Black Hawks have Brock Boeser, but they also have their own “other guy” in Thomas Novak.
Novak is not someone simply riding the coattails of Boeser though. Novak has some high-end offensive talent, which he showcased leading not one but two high-profile tournaments this year in scoring.
- Age: 17.43 years old at start of season. Born April 28, 1997.
- Birthplace: River Falls, WI
- Frame: 6’0, 181 lbs
- Draft Year Team: Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
- Accomplishments: Five Nations Tournament Gold Medal, Hlinka Memorial Bronze Medal, Lead Scorer in Hlinka Memorial Tournament, Lead Scorer in Junior-A Challenge Tournament, USHL All-Rookie Second Team
|PCS% 2014||PCS Pts/82 2014||PCS% 2015||PCS Pts/82 2015|
|PCS Most NHL GP||PCS Highest Pts/GP|
|R.J. Umberger||Kyle Okposo|
|Ryan Johnson||R.J. Umberger|
|Chad LaRose||Chad LaRose|
- PCS = Our Player Cohort Success model. Click here for more information about PCS.
A highly skilled playmaking center with first-rate “hockey sense” and puckhandling ability. Creates energy through being an offensively dominant presence. Plays an up-tempo game that can catch a lot of defencemen off guard; excellent skater.
Novak has excellent sense and feel for the game with an effortless approach to playing that can make it appear at times that it is laissez-faire. He can make plays in all situations and has poise to allow plays to develop. He has the ability to strike quickly when the opportunity is there. Very elusive with his skating and can change speed and position quickly. Being a consistent threat can make him a very valuable player.
Hard driving winger creates chances every shift. Smart and skilled, with the ability to both create and finish plays. Has a natural sniper’s touch around the net. Goes to the dirty areas to retrieve loose pucks and wins battles in the corners against bigger men through sheer determination. Great vision and imagination with the puck. Superb anticipation and the puck just seems to follow him around the rink. Wants the puck on his stick at crunch time and is a fierce competitor.
Thomas Novak has some legitimate offensive skills, which has put him on the radar for scouts and our own list here at the Nation Network.
Novak has scouts drooling over all of his offensive trademarks they love, but tends to be marked down for his defensive game and size. The size comment is an interesting note, since listed between 6’0 and 6’1, Novak is far from the smallest player on the ice.
He has scored well in the USHL and brought some fairly high-end supportive player cohorts like Kyle Okposo. The big ribbon though in his hair has been his performance in the big stages, leading both the Junior-A challenge and the Ivan Hlinka tournaments in scoring.
We all know how scouts can sometimes be overly impacted by strong performances in small, “clutch” samples (just look at NHL contracts for any player after a high shooting percentage or PDO in the playoffs). Still, Novak’s performance as a top scorer in the USHL shows that it’s not just luck driving his scoring.
Novak’s greatest asset is his hands. He can control the puck well no matter how much or little space he is given. He can both score and distribute, giving him multiple weapons to choose from.
Novak is committed to the University of Minnesota, a strong program in the NCAA that has developed quite a few NHL players and carried 16 NHL drafted prospects last season.