Thomas Novak
Image: USA Hockey

Thomas Novak

Hometown:

River Falls Wisconsin

Currently Playing In:

NCAA

Birthday:

1997-04-28

Position:

C

Eligible for draft:

2015

Shoots:

Left

Drafted:

2015

Height:

6-0

Acquired:

3rd Round (85th Overall), 2015

Weight:

179 lbs.

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History

2011-12: Thomas Novak skated for the varsity team at Minnesota small school state champion St. Thomas Academy as a ninth-grader. He scored 18 goals with 25 assists and 2 penalty minutes in 31 games. St. Thomas defeated Totino-Grace, 2-1, to capture the Section 4A title and topped Hermantown in the state championship game for the second straight year, winning 5-1. 

2012-13: Novak led St. Thomas Academy in scoring as the Cadets won their third straight  Division A state championship. He scored 28 goals with 29 assists and had 6 penalty minutes in 31 games. The Cadets faced Hermantown in the state championship game for the third straight season, winning 5-4. Novak attended USA Hockey’s Select 16 Player Development camp in July, scoring 4 goals with 7 assists for Team Kelly in pool play. Novak was selected by Des Moines in the first round (third overall) in the 2013 USHL Futures Draft. 

2013-14: Novak represented the USA for the first time, skating for the Select U17 team in the Five Nations Tournament in Slovakia in August, and played for Team Southeast in the Upper Midwest Elite High School League in the fall before returning to St. Thomas Academy for his junior year. He scored 3 goals with 3 assists in four games at the Five Nations Tournament. Novak scored 11 goals with 22 assists and 8 penalty minutes in 19 games for Team Southeast. He scored 26 goals with 44 assists in 25 games for St. Thomas Academy. Moving from the A to the AA level, the Cadets defeated Hastings and Eastview before falling to Eagan, 4-2, in the Section 3AA tournament. Novak scored a goal with an assist in the game against Eagan. He appeared in two games with the USA National Team Development Program’s U17 team, with no points nor penalties. Novak was selected by Kitchener in the 13th round (242nd overall) in the 2014 OHL Priority Draft. 

2014-15: Novak skated for the USA U18 team at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament before joining the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks; foregoing his senior season of high school hockey. Obtained by the Black Hawks from Des Moines in a summer trade,  he was the second-leading scorer for Waterloo behind another former Minnesota high school player, Brock Boeser. Novak scored 14 goals with 34 assists in 46 games and was +14 with 12 penalty minutes. Waterloo finished fifth in the Western Conference, missing the playoffs. Novak, like Boeser, represented the USA in the 2014 World Junior A Challenge, scoring 3 goals with 4 assists in four games. He scored 5 goals with 6 assists and was +2 with 6 penalty minutes in five games for the USA at the Ivan Hlinka tournament.  Novak committed to playing college hockey at the University of Minnesota in 2015-16 in December 2014. He played for Team Olczyk in the 2014 USA All-American Top Prospects Game and was ranked 28th amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings prior to the 2015 NHL Draft.

Talent Analysis

Novak is a highly-skilled forward with a strong understanding of the game and outstanding shooting/passing and stick handling skills. He is still developing physically and will need more strength to compete at the higher levels of hockey. His willingness to compete in tight spaces and determination in tough spots will determine just how successful he can be at the collegiate and eventually pro level.

Future

Novak missed most of the Predators development camp after heading to the University of Minnesota to begin his studies. He is expected to challenge for a significant role with the Golden Gophers as a freshman. Still a long-term project in terms of developing physically and adding the consistency to compete at the NHL level on a nightly basis, Novak's offensive skills and hockey intelligence suggest he can one day be a two-way center with some scoring ability. Going the NCAA route should afford him the time to reach that potential.

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