What Does the Future Hold for Philip Tomasino and Cody Glass as Nashville Predators?

Nov 20, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators center Cody Glass (8) awaits the face
Nov 20, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators center Cody Glass (8) awaits the face / Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Philip Tomasino and Cody Glass have become polarizing, and even touchy subjects for the Nashville Predators and their fans within the last year plus.

As the team has shaken up their roster and looked more towards the future over time, those two have become critical players in that regard, as they are both former 1st round picks and super talented.

And by all accounts, both of them had strong finishes to the 2022-23 season, so expectations were high for them coming into 2023-24. It is safe to say that neither lived up to the bill in the slightest.

Tomasino once again struggled to make his mark, as he was scratched for many games, and eventually reassigned to Milwaukee in February. The only reason Glass was not sent back is because he cannot go to the AHL without hitting waivers first, but he had it no better, as he was also healthy-scratched a lot and played just five games after March 7.

Not only did neither one of them show improvement, they took steps back, and you never want to see that for young and developing players. It was hard to feel good about either one panning out after this year, but after hearing what Head Coach Andrew Brunette said in the team's recent end of season press conference, there are only questions and doubt around both players.

Tomasino and Glass have uphill battles to prove themselves to Preds

Tomasino's struggles have been going on for longer than Glass, and started all the way back at the beginning of 2022-23. It was then announced that he would start the season in Milwaukee, and the decision was met with much uproar and backlash.

It looked like former Head Coach John Hynes was prioritizing his bruising, physical system instead of playing the best players, and Tomasino was getting robbed of playing time as a young, talented forward. He needed it as part of his development, and when he came back in February of that year and looked good, it further made us wonder what Hynes was thinking.

It was believed that the same thing would not happen under Brunette, especially under his coaching style that emphasizes speed and skill. But things were obviously no smoother for Tomasino, who was having problems from the very beginning of the year and on.

I wrote an article about Tomasino in November, in which I suggest that there was a deeper issue with him and that the Predators had to make a decision on him soon. It thankfully looked to be aging poorly in the few weeks following that, but alarm bells started ringing once again around the midway point of the season.

Tomasino was getting healthy-scratched and low ice time in the games he played, and the crazy thing was that he was looking strong when on the ice. He of course went down to Milwaukee a few weeks later, at which point it seemed pretty clear that even if we could not see it, there was something going on and holding him back from having success.

When Brunette was asked about it the other day, he mentioned that while Tomasino was looking good in Milwaukee, a lot of his issues were related to work ethic. That is not surprising with how mysterious things have been with him, but it is not encouraging either, as that is more personality-related and is not a talent or experience problem that can be developed.

As for Glass, he looked to be right on track coming into the 2023-24 season, and started in the Predators lineup just like he was expected to. But things went off the rails for him pretty quickly, and it should be acknowledged upfront that bad luck played a key role in what happened.

Glass faced bad luck and injuries, so what's next?

Glass had two stints on IR in the first two months of the season, playing the first five games then playing just four more before the second injury. Health was fortunately not an issue for him for the remainder of the season, but everything else was.

I touched on Glass at around Christmas time, explaining that he was a victim of bad luck everywhere and had a chance to get it back together and finish strong. That of course never happened, and it is tough to put it any other way than saying that he was worse in all areas this season than last season.

It was a complete decline for Glass this year and there was hardly a situation in which the coaching staff trusted him to contribute. He even stacked some games in the month before the Predators' 18-game point streak and played during a chunk of it as well, including a game on March 2 when he got a hat trick at home.

Yet Brunette still pulled Glass from the lineup at the next chance he got, and never gave him another chance to re-establish himself. It was just a dreadful campaign for the young forward, and he only played 41 games in what was supposed to be his second full season in the NHL.

As with Tomasino, Brunette did not hold back when asked about Glass the other day, mentioning that he lost mojo and confidence during the season, and that he needs to show the coaches why he should make the team roster in the fall.

Even after both Tomasino and Glass had rough seasons at rough times, it is not like there is no reason to believe they can bounce back. Brunette of course said good things about Tomasino's time in Milwaukee this year, and we also heard from Glass himself, from which we learned that he is motivated and aware of the pressure on him, and that there was a significant learning curve for him in a new coaching system.

Regardless of the silver linings, Brunette made it clear that he needs to see way more from both guys before he can truly believe in them. And let's face it, with everything we have seen, it is difficult for anyone else to truly believe that they can live up to the hype that was previously around them.

How much longer will the leashes actually be for Philip Tomasino and Cody Glass?

Let it be clear that development is not linear and it is different for everyone, and the problem is not just that Tomasino and Glass have not yet blossomed, it is the ways in which they have been prevented from doing so.

As mentioned earlier, the general guideline with these young guys is progress not perfection, and at the very least, you want to see overall stability with them. But it has been all over the place for Tomasino and Glass, and quite honestly, I am not sure that their problems are fixable.

Tomasino especially has had years to get things figured out, and even played all but six games of a full year as a rookie in 2021-22. It has only gone downhill for him since then, and blame coaching all you want, but he has done no better for himself and Brunette's comments the other day all but confirm it is an issue with himself.

Tomasino is of course only 22-years-old and it takes years for these guys to fully mature, and with Brunette saying that he is doing well in Milwaukee, maybe he really is turning a corner in that regard. But between all of last year and this year, he has had several instances that should be wakeup calls, and still has not gotten the message apparently.

We know the old saying of hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard, and Tomasino has to figure out a way to consistently work hard so that he can flourish with his talent, and I will believe it when I see it at this point.

It has not been as prolonged with Glass, as his only truly bad year with the Predators was this year, and everyone has a down year. But once again, you never want to see these youngsters decline, and when they decline and never recover, it is a red flag.

And while they will also lose their confidence from time to time, it cannot be for a full season, and it is not something coaching can easily fix. It must have been really off with Glass if Brunette scratched him in so many games after the Trade Deadline, so something drastic has to change if he is to become a trusted player on this team.

Why Preds Trading for Mitch Marner isn't Plausible. dark. Next. Preds

The most likely scenario is that both players are back in the Predators' system to start next season, but they are far from untouchables. It is not like opposing teams are actively lining up for their services, but if the Predators need an extra piece or two to make a trade work, what is stopping them from including Glass or Tomasino, or both?

You always want your guys to pan out and to maintain faith, but at a certain point you have to be realistic about their trajectories. And if there is one thing Trotz and Brunette have shown, it is that they mean business and if you are not impacting the team to their liking, they will by no means view you as safe on the roster.

The upside is absolutely there with Tomasino and Glass and I really hope it works out for both, but if I am Trotz and Brunette, I am planning for the future assuming that neither guy will become a core contributor.