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Nashville Predators 2023 Training Camp Spotlight: Philip Tomasino

Nashville Predators center Philip Tomasino (26) reacts after scoring a goal during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators center Philip Tomasino (26) reacts after scoring a goal during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /
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The topic of Philip Tomasino has not been without debate this offseason with the signing of several new players by the Nashville Predators during free agency.

With the addition of Denis Gurianov, there has been a lot of speculation about Tomasino’s place on the Predators roster and what line he’ll fit on. There is little doubt, if any, that he’ll get the Milwaukee treatment to open the season again.

After being drafted 24th overall in the 2019 draft, Tomasino played 76 games with the Predators in the 2021-22 season, recording 11 goals and 21 assists. Fans were impressed with his performance in his rookie season, so it came as quite a shock to many when he was assigned to Milwaukee at the end of training camp last year.

However, Tomasino’s time with the Admirals didn’t last long, as he rejoined the team in February after Filip Forsberg went out with an injury.

Let’s take a look into how 2022-23 turned out for Tomasino, and what we can expect from him during the 2023-24 season with a new head coach and a much different system that will be ran that predicates on more offense and speed.

2022-23 Season Review for Tomasino

Early in  the season with the Milwaukee Admirals, the 22-year-old scored 32 points in 38 games, and continued to impress fans with his explosive skating and smart playmaking.

When he got called up to Nashville in February, Tomasino scored 18 points in 31 games and really stepped up and shined towards the end of the season when several veteran players were plagued with injuries.

There was a stretch of time at the end of March and early April when Tomasino was scoring almost a goal a game, which played a big part in keeping the Predators playoff hopes alive so late in the season. It was obvious that he had capitalized on all he had learned from some of the Preds’ veteran players during his time with the team previously.

Not only was Tomasino explosive with his own scoring, he was also a great teammate and set up his teammates for their own success in scoring. One of my favorite moments from Tomasino this past year wasn’t even his own goal, but rather his assist in Tommy Novak’s overtime game winner against the Anaheim Ducks on March 12th.

Tomasino took a pass from Novak and then proceeded to skate alongside him to the net, where he made a last-second feed to his teammate, letting Novak fire the puck into the net to earn the Predators a much-needed two points in the standings.

Tomasino also had the opening goal for this game, scoring on the power play nine minutes into the first period. This wasn’t the only time Tomasino has had a goal like this, as he spent the entire second half of the season making sneaky moves to create scoring chances for himself and his teammates.

Season Outlook for 2023-24

When it comes to talk of Nashville’s all important “young core”, many people tend to leave out Tomasino as he has already played more than his share of NHL games.

Personally, I think that Tomasino should definitely still be considered a younger member of this team, as people also tend to forget that he is only 22-years-old. General Manager Barry Trotz and Head Coach Andrew Brunette have both emphasized the importance of having a lot of young talent on a team, and Tomasino will fit into the model they are seeking to create.

Tomasino is entering his last year on his entry-level contract (yes, he is still on his entry-level contract despite how much we have seen from him), and is going to be looking to prove himself this year before he becomes a restricted free agent in 2024.

There has been quite a bit of speculation surrounding Tomasino’s place in the lineup with the emergence of other talented right-wingers such as Juuso Parssinen and Luke Evangelista and the signing of Gurianov, but Tomasino has more than proved his worth after two years of strong development, and will only continue to grow and improve.

As for linemates and where he will fit on the lineup, it is very hard to predict what will happen until we see what he does during training camp, as having a new coach will most likely change a lot of what we have seen in the past.

We’ve seen Tomasino work extremely well with Novak, especially during overtime when the game is 3-on-3, so we can most likely expect them to be paired together throughout the season.

We’ve also seen Tomasino work well with center Cody Glass, as their production has been very consistent. If he makes it out of camp, I can also see him working well with the physicality that Egor Afanasyev brings, as it will counter Tomasino’s quick and agile movements.

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Tomasino’s Biggest Strength & Weakness 

Tomasino is known for being a fearless puck carrier who is willing to make risky and tricky plays in front of the net. This may also be seen as a weakness because it can occasionally lead to some bad breakaways for the opposing team, but generally the other teams aren’t expecting him to make these plays, and his agility allows him to be successful most of the time.

In addition to Tomasino’s explosive skating style that was mentioned earlier, he is very versatile and consistent in both zones, something that has come in handy during some tricky situations in games.

Tomasino is still a young player, and occasionally will make mistakes when it comes to passing and transitions in the neutral zone and across the blue line, but these transitions and errors have become few and far between since his first year, and we can only expect more improvement in these intricate areas of the game.

Overall, Tomasino has his work cut out for him entering training camp, but I believe that he will make the roster and will have a strong year on the Nashville Predators for the 2023-24 season, and will continue making unique and uplifting plays for the team.