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Scouts around the world were yelling “steal” when the Kelowna Rockets drafted Lassi Thomson in this year’s CHL import draft.
The Rockets picked the offensive minded Finnish defenseman 53rd overall with the belief that they could bring him overseas, a belief that many CHL teams obviously didn’t have.
The @Kelowna_Rockets have signed Finnish d-man Lassi Thomson to a WHL Standard Players Agreement. It marks first time in my 19 years of calling radio games for them, that two imports in the same season will play on the blueline. Czech Republic born Libor Zabransky is the other. pic.twitter.com/oBYKQHAp2r— Regan Bartel (@Reganrant) August 8, 2018
On Tuesday, that belief turned into what could potentially be a game changing piece on their blue line this season, as the team signed Thomson to a WHL Standard Players Agreement.
It’s a huge addition for a defense core that lost Cal Foote, Gordie Ballhorn and James Hilsendager this summer.
Although NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary 2019 rankings have not been released, most early mock drafts and rankings have Thomson as a late first or second-round pick.
With more than 10 months to go until the draft in Vancouver, there’s a good chance the 17-year-old could cement himself as a first-round pick if he has a good season in Kelowna.
According to Rockets’ play-by-play man Regan Bartel, this will be the first time that both of the team’s import players are defenseman in the last two decades.
The team’s other import player is Czech Republic born Libor Zabransky, who had a solid rookie campaign in Kelowna last year.