NEWARK — “Opportunity” is a word thrown around alot when speaking about the 2016-17 Albany Devils roster. With the majority of the A-Devils’ top offensive producers gone, the team will ask it’s younger players to take steps to fill the void.
That’s where the opportunity lies.
“A lot of opportunity for young players: first, second and third year guys,” said team captain Rod Pelley. “They will get increase ice time, opportunities on the power play and penalty kill. It’s also exciting with a fresh young group that wants to leave a mark and eventually get to the NHL.”
Ben Thomson, who is entering his third season, is completely aware of the chance he will have to make an impact in the AHL, which could potentially earn him a NHL recall.
After being a healthy scratch for the first game of the 2015-16 season, Thomson went on to lead the team with 73 games played. His big frame helped him to 18 points, including six goals and 12 assists.
“The biggest thing in hockey is you have to take those opportunities and run with it,” Thomson said. “Whether that’s getting into the Albany lineup or getting some games in the NHL. You have to seize the opportunity.”
The 6-3, 215lb winger was selected during the fourth round (96th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft. Since turning pro two seasons ago, he has logged 140 AHL games, producing 34 points with 14 goals and 20 helpers.
Thomson has a clear desire to win in Albany, but also make it to the NHL.
“Coming off a real good year in Albany last year, I feel there is a lot of guys who got a taste of winning and that’s kind of what we are expecting this year,” he said. “It’s a little bit of a different mindset.”
Thomson continued: “The big goal for me is to play in the NHL this year. I feel I’ve had a real good summer and I took the necessary steps. In the short term, every day is a new day. You have to come to the rink whether it’s a good or bad day the day before and do what you can do. There is a lot of things that go on when picking teams and you have to just focus on yourself and not worry about other guys. That’s kind of my mindset coming in: one day, one practice, one scrimmage at a time.”