Thomas Raffl, the next Austrian to take a Jet to the NHL?

Thomas Raffl, the next Austrian to take a Jet to the NHL?

03 Sep 2015Lucas Bradelj»
 

Thomas Raffl, current member of EC Red Bull Salzburg, could follow his brother Michael to the big show. The 29-year-old forward has been invited to the Winnipeg Jets' training camp.

 
 
 
 

Thomas RafflThomas, the older brother of Philadelphia Flyers’ member Michael Raffl, plays a complete game and brings all abilities to make a name for himself also in North America. 194 cm and 106 kg make him suitable for the physical game in the world’s most prestigious hockey league. Rumours about NHL franchises having interest in the Austrian winger have been flying around for quite some time, but only now the camp tryout offer by Winnipeg has been confirmed. If he accepts the invitation, he will head to Canada in mid-September and try to earn a spot in the Jets’ lineup.

Thomas Raffl Raffl, who captained the Austrian national team at the 2015 IIHF World Championships, is a native from the Carinthian town of Villach. If he achieves his dream, he would be the 4th Austrian currently competing in the NHL alongside Michael Grabner (New York Islanders), Michael Raffl (Philadelphia Flyers) and superstar Thomas Vanek (Minnesota Wild). All-time he could become the 8th Austrian-trained player in the National Hockey League, following in the footsteps of Christoph Brandner, Andreas Nödl, Thomas Pöck and Reinhard Divis. Interesting side note: Grabner and the Raffl-brothers all come from the Villacher SV junior program.

Thomas RafflIt would not be his first time in Canada, even though his first attempt to play overseas did not last a whole season. At the age of 20, Raffl played 33 games in the Western Hockey League, splitting his season between the Kelowna Rockets and the Swift Current Broncos, before returning to Villach to win an Austrian championship. He played for his hometown club for 3 more seasons, before a breakout season in 2009 (23 goals and 12 assists in 41 games) earned him a contract with Lulea HF of the Swedish Elitserien.

After one and half seasons in Scandinavia (8 goals and 9 assists in 67 games), Raffl returned to Austria, signing with Red Bull Salzburg. During his 5 seasons in Salzburg, he developed to become one of the league’s top players, proven by the fact that he was top scorer of his team in all 3 injury-free seasons. He also won two more EBEL championships with the Red Bulls, one in 2011 and his personal third in 2015.

Thomas Raffl Thomas Raffl is also an established player on the international level, having represented his home country at various international tournaments, including the Olympic Games in Sochi and two Top Division World Championships.

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