Daily News Kings sign forward Akil Thomas to a two-year contract


They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
Staff member
The Kings have extended the contract of Akil Thomas two more years, with the new pact carrying an annual average value of $775,000, the team said in a news release.

In 2024-25, it will be a non-waiver-exempt, two-way deal that’ll convert into a one-way agreement in 2025-26, according to a post from O2K Sports Management, the agency that represents Thomas and employs his agent, Eustace King.

Thomas, 24, was a second-round selection of the Kings in 2019. The following season, he capped a gold-medal-winning rally with the game-winning goal for Canada at the 2020 World Junior Championships.

Thomas then battled a series of injuries, most notably serious shoulder issues, that abated the speed of his arrival to the NHL.

He grew into a leadership role with the Kings’ top minor-league affiliate – setting career highs in games played, goals, assists and points in 2023-24 – and last season finally made his NHL debut April 1, spelling Phillip Danault after one of his two broken fingers late in the campaign.

Thomas maximized the opportunity, scoring four points in seven games during which he averaged a lean 8:43 a night of ice time. Three of his nine shots on goal found the back of the net before he was returned to the American Hockey League, where he added five points in eight postseason contests for the Ontario Reign.

Beyond the playing surface, Thomas has developed interests in fashion and entertainment, having worked on music videos in his 20s after co-founding an apparel brand as a teenager.

The coming year, however, will be all about the ice, as Carl Grundstrom, Arthur Kaliyev, Trevor Lewis and Blake Lizotte are each, presently, without a contract. Kaliyev appears unlikely to return and with those uncertainties as well as the departure of Jaret Anderson-Dolan on waivers, there could be plenty of opportunities in the Kings’ bottom six.

The extension of Thomas, like that of goalie David Rittich, retains a useful component at a rock-bottom price. That’ll be key as the cap-strapped Kings seek to resolve the statuses of unrestricted free agents Viktor Arvidsson and Matt Roy, as well as lock up restricted free agent and top priority Quinton Byfield.

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Byfield and Thomas were teammates as well as linemates in Ontario, including when they and Devante Smith-Pelly formed what was believed to be the first all-Black line in pro hockey since the 1940s, when Manny McIntyre and the Carnegie Brothers (Herb and Ossie) skated together in Quebec.

In the here and now, Thomas will look to spread his offensive outburst over what projects to be a longer look at the top level while maintaining his trademark intensity and doggedness. He, former lottery pick (and even more oft-injured) Alex Turcotte and Samuel Fagemo are among the aspirants to become full-time forwards for the Kings next season after seeing sparing duty during last year’s disappointing campaign.

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