As the Nashville Predators season continues to hang in the balance, the expectation is to see the youth of the organization to get valuable NHL minutes.
No player is leading that charge in the prospect pool more than Philip Tomasino. And it’s really not even close. However, there’s a fair question to ask yourself of if the organization should rush him into the NHL this season, or let him pretty much dominate in the AHL.
Tomasino has already played five games for the Chicago Wolves of the AHL, a team that’s stacked and undefeated on the season. He’s up to six points (3 goals, 3 assists) already.
The performance by Tomasino on a stacked Canada team in the World Juniors also confirmed that he’s not afraid of the bright lights or big stage.
Tomasino on the Nashville Predators roster?
Unless an unforeseen shift in play comes from the Nashville Predators in the next week or two, I see a massive sell off coming at April’s trade deadline. That is if teams are actually suitors of what the Predators have to offer.
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That’s when it looks most likely that Tomasino could make his highly-anticipated NHL debut. As much as I would love to see it, now might not be the right time to rush him in.
Regardless of what happens this season in the NHL and AHL, Tomasino has one of the brightest futures that a Predators prospect has had in a while. There’s no reason to rush him onto a team that seems to have no chemistry and is going nowhere in the short term.
If and when there’s a sell-off from the Predators front office that carves up room on the NHL roster, that’s when you call up Tomasino and see how he responds.
In this possible scenario, Tomasino wouldn’t be under any heavy pressure to produce or “save the team”. The season for all intensive purposes would be over, and it would be all about player development.
There’s just no guarantee that players like Ryan Johansen, Calle Jarnkrok or other forwards will make it past the trade deadline. That’s where Tomasino could come in and make his NHL splash.
If Tomasnio does get into the Predators starting lineup, not the taxi squad, at some point this season then I have a lot of confidence that he’ll shine. The guy is a natural hockey player all the way around.
Think long-term, not the short-term
Tomasino is such a huge part of this team’s long-term future. I don’t want to see him thrown to the fire, even though honestly I think he’d handle it fine. I want to see what he does in the AHL in this unprecedented opportunity.
Under normal circumstances, Tomasino wouldn’t even be eligible for the AHL yet. Due to the OHL having trouble getting their season started due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a deal was brokered to let these players play in the AHL.
To further complicate matters, the Predators’ normal AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, were unable to start their season. That’s where the partnership with the Carolina Hurricanes organization came into play, and the Chicago Wolves.
Tomasino is going to have a lot of success for the Wolves this season when he plays. That team is loaded, and some probably feel it’s unfair that they got to cherry pick players from an already great team in the Admirals.
In these crazy circumstances, we shouldn’t apologize for anything. I’m happy to see these Predators prospects getting a chance to play and continue to develop their games. Tomasino is going to thrive in the AHL like he does everywhere else.
Until the room is made on the NHL roster due to trades and getting away from some long-term contracts that aren’t working, I’m fine with Tomasino dominating in the AHL and getting ready for the NHL in 2021-22 when the Predators are likely entering their full on rebuild.