2015 NHL Draft Prospect Profile #40 - Thomas (Tommy) Novak
A talented two way center, Novak's impressed a lot of people in the USHL, and looks to continue his development at the University of Minnesota next season.
Current Team: Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL) - Committed to University of Minnesota for 2015-2016 season.
Date of Birth: April 28th, 1997
Place of Birth: River Falls, WI
Weight: 181 lbs.
This 2015 draft class is almost as deep in Centres as it is in Defense, so guys like Novak, who has been an excellent two way forward since he started at St. Thomas Academy, are sliding into the second round simply because of sheer numbers. After delivering a point per game season for Waterloo this season, he's committed to attend the University of Minnesota, where he's likely to get some excellent coaching and development. With his talent and that kind of support, the team that drafts Novak could be looking at a very exciting prospect within a year or two.
A smart, intelligent forward...skates well and has very creative hands with the puck...not afraid of working hard, forechecks consistently and has great determination offensively...gets himself to good spots in the o-zone...pulls defenders in before making strong passes...shows great patience with the puck...has a decent shot but could stand to work on its velocity...can make questionable decision and get into penalty trouble but does show a willingness to play in gritty areas and not back down. -Future Considerations
Thomas Novak is a creative playmaker with great stickhandling ability, crisp tape-to-tape passes and excellent vision. Novak has good offensive instincts and seems to make smart plays with the puck more often than not. He has high hockey IQ, and seems to be a step or two ahead of the game at times. Novak is a very good stickhandler, and shows the poise to protect the puck and slow the game down, while waiting for a teammate to get open...Novak could be an effective second line centre in the NHL, with the skills to really help out on the powerplay if he can reach his ceiling. -Last Word On Sports
A Good Fit In Columbus?
The Jackets are fairly deep on forward prospects, but a lot of them are on the wing. Right now that's not an issue given the team's depth down the middle at the NHL level, but having a player like Novak developing at Minnesota wouldn't be a bad thing - assuming they can sign him once he's ready to go pro.
I don't think the Mike Reilly situation is going to make the Jackets hesitate on another NCAA player, though, so I think he's likely to be on the team's radar. If Jarmo and the scouting staff feels like they've addressed the team's defensive needs by the second day of the draft, I could see them deciding to use one of their second round picks on this guy, but I suspect D is going to be the first priority for Columbus.