Jordan Samuels-Thomas is one step closer to the Nationall Hockey League.
The incoming freshman at Bowling Green was selected in the seventh round Saturday by the Atlanta
Thrashers during the NHL Draft.
Samuels-Thomas was the 203rd player chosen in the seven-round draft.
The 6-foot-3, 198-pound left wing has a sweet mix of size and skill.
He had 32 goals and 22 assists in 59 games last season for the Waterloo Black Hawks in the United States
(Junior) Hockey League. His goal total tied for third in the league.
The native of South Windsor, Conn. also had 59 penalty minutes, seven power-play goals, four game-winning
goals and on-ice rating of plus-17.
"Getting drafted is the best moment of my life," he said. "To be drafted and to be a part
of such an elite group of players hasn’t sunk in yet. Getting drafted really means a lot. It’s every
players dream to play in the NHL."
He’s steadily improved the last two seasons and has received attention from the pro scouts since the
start of the 2007-08 season. He was an ‘A’ list prospect by the NHL at one point, meaning he had the
potential to be drafted in the first three rounds.
But he thought his chances of being drafted were starting to slip away Saturday. Only nine picks were
left when the Thrashers chose him. He played for Waterloo during the 2007-08 season, totaling eight
goals and three assists in 56 games.
The USHL has become the top league for college coaches to recruit, and many USHL players are being
drafted by the NHL. Most college-bound players play at least two seasons before turning pro.
He was ranked 190th among North American skaters
in the NHL’s final pre-draft rankings.
"I was getting pretty nervous, but I tried to stay calm," said Samuels-Thomas, who followed the
draft on the Internet from his home. "I knew I had a pretty good year and luckily everything worked
Of course, he still would have had a chance to play professionally
even if he wasn’t chosen Saturday – just like former Falcon Dan Sexton
Sexton played two seasons at BG and was one of college hockey’s best offensive players last season. He
signed with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks as undrafted free agent at the end of last season and figures to
start next season with the Ducks’ top minor league team.
"A lot of guys have made the NHL even though they weren’t drafted, but the draft was important to
me," Samuels-Thomas said.
Samuels-Thomas thought if he was drafted, it would most likely be by the Thrashers, who have watched him
play since the start of the 2007-08 season.
"They showed the most interest in me. I’ve had a lot of conversations with them," he said.
In addition to being the typical power forward, he has good hands and a good shot, and is very good at
controlling the puck in the offensive zone and in traffic around the net. His strength is protecting the
puck and generating scoring chances down low.
"When I’m playing well, I’m a dominant player," Samuels-Thomas said. "My game is
controlling the puck from the top of the circles in and getting the puck to the net. I’m a shooter and
I’ll take the puck to the net."
But Samuels-Thomas said his game is more than size and a good scoring touch.
"I can handle the puck well. I can be physical, and I can win battles along the boards, in the
corners," he said. "I have good vision and can be pretty good in the open ice. I just try to
work hard and improve every day."
He’s expected to provide instant help offensively for the Falcons, who were 10th in the Central
Collegiate Hockey Association with an average of just 2.34 goals per game last season. BG’s power play
also was 10th at only 12.2 percent.
The Falcons have finished last in the league in each of the last seasons, including records of 11-24-3
overall and 8-19-1 in the league last season.
"He is going to be a terrific college player here at Bowling Green," Falcon coach Scott Paluch