Monday, January 16, 2012

Absurd Goalie Monday: Wayne Thomas

This week's AGM does have quite the track record-- being a Stanley Cup winner, to taking over for a star goalie, to being rostered, but never playing a game in the season. For all the hallowed franchises he play with, he would take his knowledge of the game to behind the bench and into the the front office. This week, the profile of Wayne Thomas.

Thomas started his trek in Junior A with the Ottawa Jr. Senators from 1965 until 1967, as well as playing with the Morrisburg Combines in the 1967 Allan Cup. Starting in the 1967-68 season, Thomas started to play for the University of Wisconsin, though he would not play in his first year. Thomas did see time in the 1968-69 season for the Badgers, going 9-6-1 in 16 games. In the 1969-70 season, Thomas compiled a 14-7-0 record in 21 games, helping him receive Second-Team All-Star honors in the WCHA.

Thomas was initially property of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but would traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1968,  then the Kings would trade him to the Montreal Canadiens in 1970. After leaving Wisconsin-- Thomas would play for the AHL's Montreal Voyageurs for the 1970-71 season going 8-17-6 in 33 appearances. The Voyageurs moved to Nova Scotia for the 1971-72 season, which seemed to help Thomas; who finished that season with a 22-8-10 record in 41 games. Thomas only played in six games for Nova Scotia in the 1972-73 season, before getting the call by the Montreal Canadiens, where he'd play 10 games with an 8-1-0 record. Despite not dressing for a playoff game, Thomas received a Stanley Cup ring and included in the team picture at the end of the season-- but is not engraved onto the Stanley Cup.

With Ken Dryden opting to study law for the 1973-74 season, Thomas assumed the starting role-- playing in 42 games, finishing with a 23-12-5 record while splitting time with Bunny Larocque and Michel Plasse. Yet, in the 1974-75 season, Thomas was listed on the active roster for the Canadiens, but never played a single minute the entire season.

With his time in Montreal done, the Canadiens traded Thomas to the Toronto Maple Leafs before the 1975-76 season, where Thomas would take the starting role, going 28-24-12 in 64 games and a 5-5 playoff record. Thomas would also play in the 1976 All-Star Game. However, the 1976-77 season would be a little rough for Thomas, who lost his starting job and only appear in 33 games with a finishing record of 10-13-6 and 1-2 in the playoffs.

Before the 1977-78 season, the New York Rangers claimed Thomas in the Waiver Draft, though he struggled in his 41 games that season, finishing with a 12-20-7 record and 0-1 in the playoffs. Thomas's time in the pipes dwindled in the 1978-79 season, seeing only 31 games, but putting together a 15-10-3 record for the season. Thomas split his time in the 1979-80 season between the Rangers for 12 games (4-7-0) and five games with their AHL affiliate, the New Haven Nighthawks (5-0-0). Thomas would make one last gasp at playing int he 1980-81 season with the Rangers, but would go 3-6-1 in 10 games before he would hang-up the pads in retirement.

Not long after his retirement, Thomas went into the coaching ranks-- first with the Rangers as a goalie and then assistant coach, then getting his first head coaching job in the IHL with the Salt Lake Golden Eagles from 1985 to 1987, winning the 1986 Turner Cup with them; then onto the Peoria Riverman from 1988-90. Thomas would be promoted to assistant coach of the St. Louis Blues from 1990 until 1993, when he moved to be part of the coaching staff for the San Jose Sharks.

In March of 1996, Thomas was promoted to Sharks assistant General Manager and General Manager to their AHL team, which is the Worcester Sharks at the moment.

Though he had quite the ride for his playing career, his hockey sense allowed him to actually get an idea and prepared for something outside his playing career-- which he has turned into a great position and one of the respected front office people for the Sharks organization.

No comments: