Trade deadline deals at any level of hockey are a complicated beast. Often times, contending teams are in the market for additional pieces that will help them get over the proverbial hump and win a championship. On the other end, you have struggling organizations looking to sell their valuable assets for pieces that will assist them in future seasons. Unfortunately, these trades don’t always work in the “buyers” favor. The transition to a new team plays more of a role and a player struggles to produce at the level they were for their original team. Luckily, for the Oshawa Generals, this has not been the case with their most recent acquisition.
Finding themselves as one of the Ontario Hockey League’s better teams in the Eastern Conference, the Generals entered the trade deadline ready to make a splash. Oshawa found a trade partner in the Niagara IceDogs, and they were able to reel in Nashville Predators’ prospect, Philip Tomasino. In exchange, Niagara received six second-round picks, one third-round pick, and two four-round picks. For that kind of haul, it was clear Oshawa expected Tomasino to make an immediate impact.
Luckily, that’s exactly what’s happening.
Tomasino at Home in Oshawa
To say that Tomasino is making a strong impression with his new team would be an understatement. On the same exact day the 18-year-old was dealt from Niagara to Oshawa, Tomasino played his first game with the Generals. Of course, many expected this contest against the Windsor Spitfires to be one where Tomasino got acclimated to his new team. Very few people expected him to make the sort of impression he did straight out of the gate. In just his first game with Oshawa, Tomasino registered an astounding two goals and three assists, leading the Generals to a 6-3 victory.
Five-point outings are not easy to come by. However, you don’t need to look too far into the past to find the last time Tomasino posted a similar performance. Just seven days earlier, he recorded five points with Niagara in an overtime win against the North Bay Battalion. In fact, Tomasino has tallied five or more points in four games in his OHL career.
Incredibly, Tomasino’s kicking down of the proverbial door was only the beginning of his dominance in Oshawa. The Mississauga, Ontario native put together multi-point performances in his next two games and has made the scoresheet in seven of his first nine. Under 10 games into his tenure with the Generals, Tomasino already has 10 goals and 11 assists to his name. Yes, we can look back to his time with Niagara and see that he was already having a great season. However, the fact that he’s already playing the way he is with a new team is incredible.
Fast Forwarding to Next Season
Tomasino’s hot start with his new team is garnering a respectable amount of attention, as it should. With this added attention comes increased excitement around the Predators fanbase. Of course, the team’s desperate need for quality depth down the middle and unexpected failure this season will lead anybody that follows the Predators organization clinging for something to bring hope. Maybe Tomasino will be ready to jump over a few steps in his development and crack the Nashville’s roster at the start of next season.
Though Tomasino playing for the Predators next season would be a lovely story, caution is stressed when committing to this idea. There’s no denying that Tomasino is beginning to carve apart the OHL in his third year. However, a player of his pedigree is expected to. With obtaining first-round draft pick status and posting 72 points for Niagara last season, it would have been concerning if he did not become one of the more elite players in the league.
When searching for a player to compare Tomasino to, one can turn to the farm system of the Philadelphia Flyers. Morgan Frost, also a center, was taken in the later parts of the first round in 2017. His draft year was not a productive as Tomasino’s, recording 62 points, but he absolutely lit the OHL on fire the next two seasons. Still, he needed two more seasons in the league because he just wasn’t ready to take the leap directly to the NHL. Even in his first pro season, Frost could remain with the Flyers on a team in need of quality forward depth.
Tomasino has a bright future ahead of him and will be an impactful player in Nashville for many years. He’s just not quite there yet. He may receive the nine-game trial next season, especially if general manager David Poile decides the Predators need a facelift. However, it is likely that he will eventually be back with Oshawa. If you’re marking your calendar with a realistic time that Tomasino will be a Predator for good, 2021-22 is the best bet.
John Gove is an elementary school educator who writes about hockey in his spare team. Over the past five years, John has covered the game at various levels. Now, he exclusively focuses his coverage on prospects and the developmental leagues.