The Predators recalled forwards Egor Afanasyev and Mark Jankowski from AHL Milwaukee on Monday, per a team release. Nashville also assigned winger Philip Tomasino to Milwaukee in a corresponding transaction.
The three moves give the Predators a full 23-player roster with two extra forwards in case of injuries. They’re also another puzzling step in the development of the 22-year-old Tomasino who, despite producing at a 40-point pace, has been a healthy scratch in three of the last seven games.
Nashville’s 2019 first-round pick made the team out of camp in 2021 and churned out strong rookie numbers with 11 goals and 32 points in 76 games, but he split his sophomore season evenly between the NHL and AHL. This year’s been more consistent and more fruitful on the scoresheet for Tomasino, although he still hasn’t earned the full trust of the Predators’ coaching staff despite an expected +3.4 rating that’s tied for fourth on the team.
Tomasino is still waiver-exempt, but that won’t last for long. The pending RFA only has nine NHL games remaining before he loses that status, per CapFriendly.
For now, Tomasino will look to continue tearing it up in Milwaukee, where he had 12 goals and 32 points in 38 games last season. He notched over a point per game in his first pro campaign with AHL Chicago during the shortened 2020-21 season.
Today’s news does mean that Afanasyev, who was picked one round after Tomasino in 2019, should get his first NHL look of the season. The 23-year-old leads Milwaukee in goals with 21 and has added another 21 assists for 42 points in 42 games, ranking sixth in the AHL. In a 17-game stint with the Predators last year, the first of his career, he posted one goal and a -7 rating. Like Tomasino, he is in the final year of his entry-level contract, and he’ll require waivers to head to Milwaukee starting next season.
The veteran Jankowski has a pair of NHL showings this year, both coming in early December. The 6-foot-4 29-year-old has been the only better offensive player in Milwaukee than Afanasyev, posting 15 goals and 47 points through 40 games. It’s his second consecutive season tallying over a point per game for the Admirals. A first-round pick of the Flames in 2012, Jankowski will battle for fourth-line ice time with veterans Michael McCarron and Kiefer Sherwood. He’ll be a UFA this summer after completing a one-year, one-way $775K extension.