No time is being wasted by Nashville Predators 2019 first-round draft pick Philip Tomasino on landing an NHL roster spot sooner rather than later.
It’s not an easy or quick journey to make it to the NHL level, even if you’re a first-round draft pick like Philip Tomasino is for the Nashville Predators. It takes a lot of growing pains and a lot of patience.
Unlike football and basketball, draft picks in the NHL usually have to go through a few different levels of the minor leagues before finally getting that coveted NHL opportunity. And then that opportunity can quickly end in just a few games if coaches decide the prospect isn’t quite ready yet.
That’s not keeping Tomasino from having lofty goals to make it to the NHL as soon as next season, per Brooks Bratten of the Predators official website. He says in Bratten’s piece that his primary goal is competing in training camp for a roster spot, hopefully later this summer:
"“My goal is to make the NHL and make the Nashville lineup next year, and I’m going to do everything I can to make that happen”."
Check out Bratten’s full story on Tomasino’s goal to get a Predators roster spot this upcoming season. A really great read.
Take these comments seriously
Prospects say these kinds of things regularly, because the last thing you want to hear is a prospect not having confidence in their own development.
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But you tend to listen a little more when a highly-touted prospect like Tomasino says remarks like this. You take it more serious, and the Predators could certainly use this dynamic offensive player who regularly plays the center position.
Tomasino absolutely ripped through the OHL last season for the Niagara IceDogs and Oshawa Generals, putting up a combined 100 points in 62 games. This isn’t some pushover league, and those numbers are like something you would see in a video game.
If he wasn’t already all over your radar, he certainly is now. And we could be seeing him in Nashville playing meaningful regular season games in very short order.
Who could Tomasino replace or challenge?
It’s obviously way too soon to know what the Predators roster will look like when the time comes for Tomasino to compete for a roster spot. We know who will almost certainly be here, but the bottom-six is way more uncertain.
The uncertain futures of Craig Smith and Mikael Granlund in free agency leaves some possible big voids coming up for the Predators next season. It seems likely that one of those two won’t be back next year.
You also have Colin Blackwell becoming an unrestricted free agent, who played in a career-high 27 games last season for the Predators.
Are there other players who Tomasino could push for a roster spot in the next training camp? Austin Watson, Colton Sissons and Calle Jarnkrok could be pushed out if Tomasino really shines in training camp while their play plateaus or trend downward.
After naming the six previous current Predators players, one or two of them won’t be a regular in the lineup next season. That’s your opening that Tomasino could push for in training camp or in a midseason call-up. It’s not far-fetched at all to think that will happen this upcoming season.
Like any other sport, it’s extremely important to not rush Tomasino into the NHL if he’s not ready. That could have a reverse effect on his development, and there’s really no reason to rush him too much if he’s getting that critical development in the OHL, and dominating in that matter.
Usually it takes longer to see these kinds of results from your draft picks in the NHL. Tomasino is one of those rare talents that has an enormously high ceiling, and it looks very conceivable that we get to see some of that in a regular season game in 2020-21.
It may not be on a full-time basis right away, but I’d be willing to bet Tomasino will see the regular season for the Nashville Predators at some point next season, even if not directly out of training camp.