One of the most confusing things about the Nashville Predators season so far has been the absence of Philip Tomasino. The young forward played the entire season in the NHL last year and faired well, racking up 32 points in 76 games. This year he has that same total in the minor leagues through 38 games without a single appearance with the Predators.
Now, perhaps that is about to change. Tomasino has been recalled from the Milwaukee Admirals and will join the Predators ahead of their game tonight against the Arizona Coyotes.
The 21-year-old Tomasino is an interesting case of COVID-affected development. After being selected 24th overall in 2019, he returned to the OHL for his post-draft season with championship sights. After dominating with the Niagara IceDogs through the first half, but still losing nearly all of his games, Tomasino was sent to the Oshawa Generals for a playoff run. It would be just 26 games (and 43 points) before the season was shut down, ending his year early.
In 2020-21, the OHL never ran at all, meaning he was stuck playing in the AHL even as a teenager. For many prospects, that might be overwhelming, but Tomasino showed off his offensive upside by scoring 32 points in 29 games. That led to him making the NHL club last season and showing well despite limited minutes. While prospects taking a step back isn’t uncommon, it was always sort of puzzling why he hasn’t received a single call-up this season.
With Filip Forsberg now out with injury, this is a huge opportunity for Tomasino to show he doesn’t belong in the minor leagues anymore. This team has only two forwards over the 30-point mark on the season and one that could certainly use some offensive juice inserted into the lineup. Even when Forsberg is back, there’s a reasonable case for Tomasino to stay, should he prove he’s ready over the next little while.