What is Happening with Philip Tomasino in the Nashville Predators Lineup?

Sep 26, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators center Philip Tomasino (26) skates with the puck during the third period against the Florida Panthers at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators center Philip Tomasino (26) skates with the puck during the third period against the Florida Panthers at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

After a slow start for the Nashville Predators in terms of production, it seems that they are finally finding their groove when it comes to head coach Andrew Brunette’s new system. But one thing that certainly caught a lot of fans off guard was the decision to scratch Philip Tomasino in Nashville’s last two games, replacing him with Michael McCarron.

Tomasino really stood out at the end of the 2022-23 season, where he was averaging nearly a point per game after a lot of the veteran players went out with injuries or were traded to other teams. He certainly did not have an easy road making the official roster at the beginning of the season, as the past two years he was assigned to Milwaukee before getting called up for a significant period of time to play with the Predators.

During the 2022-23 season, Tomasino played 31 games with the Predators and tallied 18 points, and played 38 games with the Admirals tallying 32 points. During his time with the team, he proved that he deserved a roster spot to start the 2023-24 season, and he did end up earning that spot for opening night.

Tomasino has Struggled to Find his Place in Preds Lineup Early in 2023-24

But recently, Tomasino has been clearly struggling to find his groove as one of Nashville’s starters. During training camp, people were constantly talking about how great he looked with Brunette’s new system, but we have yet to really see him thrive during the regular season.

After playing four games with the team, he tallied only one point and two shots, which is far less than what fans were expecting from this young forward. His only point came from a power play assist to one of Tommy Novak‘s goals.

Outside of just point production, he also only blocked two shots, tallied two hits, and lost all of the faceoffs that he took. Although these numbers aren’t great, they aren’t all that different from the rest of the team who were all still getting used to Brunette’s new style of play.

After the first four games this season, Tomasino was replaced by Michael McCarron, who also made the roster at the beginning of this season, but was a healthy scratch for the first four games.

During his two games with the team, McCarron tallied one point, 4 hits, one blocked shot, and won five of his 18 faceoffs. McCarron also had several different dangerous scoring chances, but like Tomasino, was unable to actually find the back of the net.

Because it is so early in the season, it is really hard to tell who will end up being more beneficial to the team in the long run. It is important to note that Tomasino was playing with a Predators team that was still getting used to the new system that Brunette had put into place, where McCarron joined when they were finally figuring out how to make his system work well for the team.

The introduction of Samuel Fagemo to the Predators lineup also complicated things for Tomasino. Fagemo scored in his Predators debut on Saturday against the Sharks. That pretty much sets the Predators’ starting wingers until Cody Glass is able to return from injury, which could be in the next few games.

Tomasino Deserves Another Opportunity to Prove Himself with Nashville

I personally think that it is unfair to judge Tomasino this harshly so early in the season, especially against dominant teams such as the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Edmonton Oilers. Tomasino should certainly be given another chance on the ice to prove his scoring abilities now that everyone is more comfortable with the play.

Although I think Tomasino should no longer be scratched for at least a few of the next few games, it might be worth noting that it is time for a lineup change for him. He has been consistently paired with Luke Evangelista and Tommy Novak, but the pair seems to look a lot better when working with Kiefer Sherwood, who is a lot more physical than Tomasino is.

This line produced three points during their game against the San Jose Sharks, with Novak, Sherwood, and Evangelista all finding the back of the net.

Related Story. Predators Third Line Dominates in 5-1 Win Over San Jose Sharks. light

Tomasino might do a lot better and get some better looks when paired with other physical players than can sneak him quick passes off of the boards for his creative scoring chances that he is so famous for. Players like Cole Smith and Yakov Trenin come to mind when thinking of new line-mates for Tomasino, and it might be worth experimenting with this type of lineup to make the most of Tomasino’s scoring.

In regards to Tomasino’s future with the team, he is in his last year of his three year entry level contract and will be looking to re-sign at the end of the season when he becomes a restricted free agent. This is definitely his “prove it” year, and I believe that Brunette should give him a solid chance before considering moving him so early in the season.

It is also worth noting that Brunette might be seeing what success the team can have without Tomasino, and might be considering what they might be able to use him for in regards to future trades later in the season.

It will be interesting to see if and when Tomasino makes his return to the lineup, and how he uses the past few days as motivation for his game. If history repeats itself, the setbacks that Tomasino has faced in his career have made him a better player, and we might see a completely different Tomasino when he makes his return to the lineup.

Next. Who Stays and Who Goes from 2024 Nashville Predators Free Agents. dark