Philip Tomasino’s primary goal for next season is to make the Nashville Predators’ roster. The question to ask yourself is if he’s ready to make the jump?
During this offseason, General Manager David Poile pulled off a mini-rebuild of the Nashville Predators. During that time, he often spoke highly of the young prospects and how some would have a pretty good chance of making the roster once the season starts.
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While it is almost guaranteed that Tolvanen will make the roster once the season starts, there are still questions of whether or not Tomasino is ready to make the giant leap to the NHL.
Tomasino began his OHL career in 2017 with the Niagara Ice Dogs. He spent two and a half seasons with them.
During the 2019-20 season, the Ice Dogs pulled off a massive trade sending Tomasino to the Oshawa Generals.
In return, Niagara received one player, and nine draft picks spanning the next four years. A large haul and a testament to the value that Tomasino carries on the market.
In 62 games with the Ice Dogs and the Generals, Tomasino incredibly hit the century mark in points (40 goals, 60 assists).
During the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Predators selected Tomasino with the 24th-overall pick. He later signed a three-year entry-level contract with Nashville, continuing his long journey to the NHL.
After the dates were announced for the 2019-20 playoffs, Tomasino and several other prospects were invited to attend a training camp in preparation for the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.
Playoff teams were allowed to have extended rosters for the playoffs. Tomasino was selected and made the trip to Edmonton with the team.
While he never played in a playoff game, he gained valuable NHL experience with the team. Furthermore, there was a strong base of fans that wanted Tomasino to start in the playoffs.
Can Tomasino make the NHL cut this upcoming season?
Team Canada recently announced that Tomasino was selected to represent them in the World Junior Championships. Unfortunately, this coincides with the proposed dates for training camp for the upcoming season.
It appears that Poile and Head Coach John Hynes will bring Tomasino to training camp once the World Juniors tournament has completed on January 5. This will cut down on his overall time at camp, but still give him some valuable time with the team.
When you read between the lines of that statement, it appears that Tomasino is not a lock for a roster spot. Many believe that he still needs some time to develop. Don’t tell that to Tomasino, though.
In an interview with Adam Vingan of The Athletic, Tomasino said that making the Predators roster is his only goal and that he feels that he is ready to make the jump to the NHL.
"My only goal is really to make Nashville, and not only be on the team, but I want to be a big part of that team. Regardless of my age, I feel like I’m ready. I believe I can compete with those guys."
Tomasino’s confidence is apparent throughout the interview, which is good to see in a young prospect. However, the general feelings are that he may need another season in the OHL to develop.
Another factor to consider is the Predators were busy in the offseason adding free agents to the roster, which will make it more difficult for prospects to initially crack the NHL lineup.
Tomasino is a dominant factor in the OHL; that much is clear. Would he be as equally dominant if he were to make the jump to the NHL, given the current state of the game? That’s highly doubtful, at least initially.
It would be good to see him get some time with the Milwaukee Admirals, but his age and an agreement between the NHL and the Canadian Hockey League, which oversees the OHL, prevents OHL players from going to the AHL before they turn 20-years-old.
If he doesn’t make the NHL roster, he will have to go back to the OHL for another season. The bad part is that the OHL is considering removing body checking in its game and prohibiting fighting.
Since those are significant components of the NHL game, OHL prospects will not be playing in an environment conducive to their NHL development. This is bad news for Tomasino, who is itching to make the Predators roster.
Tomasino will have to make a significant impression on Hynes and Poile once he makes it to training camp. Unfortunately, his participation in the World Juniors may give him less time to impress the GM and the coach.
Patience will be the key to Tomasino’s success in the NHL. If he doesn’t make the roster for this shortened season, expect to see him in a Predators jersey in 2021-22.