3 Predators Prospects Who Can Provide Immediate Help

When a team is in a rut, some new faces can sometimes provide a lift for the rest of the roster. In Saturday night’s (Nov. 12) victory over the New York Rangers, a recently recalled player from the Nashville Predators‘ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate in Milwaukee provided a necessary spark in a 2-1 victory. Juuso Parssinen scored his first NHL goal on his first NHL shot in only his second career shift to start the scoring for the Predators on their way to their sixth win of the season.

Despite being outshot by the Rangers 35-18, Parssinen and Mark Jankowski scored the two goals, providing the margin of victory for a team that broke a two-game losing streak. The native of Finland did not just play a handful of shifts in this game. He led all Predators forwards in ice time, playing 17:49 in his NHL debut, and is one of three young players that could help provide a spark to the team going forward.

Parssinen is a Late Round Draft Gem

Smashville fans may now have a second reason to chant “Juuuuse” during games, as Parssinen’s good plays can join the efforts of goaltender Juuse Saros for the fans to reign the chant down upon the players. Saros also looked more like himself on Saturday night, stopping 34 of 35 Rangers shots. However, it was Parssinen’s first NHL game that was the major storyline of the night. The Predators selected the 21-year-old in the seventh round of the 2019 Draft. He is playing his first season in North America, scoring two goals and seven assists in 10 games for Milwaukee, and was instrumental in leading the Admirals to six straight wins before his promotion.

Head coach John Hynes also commented after the game on Parssinen’s impact on the team. “It’s nice to see him be able to come in and impact the game the way that he did. I think that he’s been a very consistent player, and he came and played his game tonight. He’s got good size, he’s got the strength in the body to be able to play at this level.” The 210th overall pick in 2019 appeared in 134 Liiga games with TPS from 2018-22, posting 87 points (23g-64a). Last season, he was third on his team and fifth among all Liiga skaters in postseason points with 12 (4g-8a). He is shaping up to be quite a bargain as a late-round draft pick and has earned the opportunity to continue to be a factor for the team.

Luke Evangelista

The second-round draft pick in 2020 currently leads the Admirals with 11 points on four goals and seven assists. Luke Evangelista recorded his first two-goal game in the AHL on Nov. 11 in the Admirals’ loss to the Iowa Wild. The native of Ontario played 14 games with the Chicago Wolves in 2020-21 after lighting up the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) that season, scoring 55 goals and tallying an impressive 111 points.

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The second cousin of former NHL standout Brendan Shanahan has been described by Elite Prospects as a “playmaker with a knack for hitting teammates in space. Whether he’s on the backhand or forehand, with three defenders in between or none, he finds ways to get the puck to his teammates. He turns would-be shots against into takeaways with decisive challenges. A defensive problem-solver, he diffuses tricky situations with a shocking amount of ease. When the time comes, he can contribute substantially to the team.”

Phil Tomasino

It may be time to give their former first-round draft pick another shot in Smashville. After what was described as a lackluster training camp, Phil Tomasino has scored six goals with three assists for the Admirals since his demotion. This was a slightly disappointing result after the 21-year-old had 32 points in 76 games last season with the Predators. After being demoted, Hynes told the press, “We think that’s the right thing for now for him. Make no mistake – we think he’s a top-six talent and a top young player for us, and his future’s bright here.”

Philip Tomasino Nashville Predators
Philip Tomasino, Nashville Predators (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

That attempt for a bright future should be returning soon for Tomasino. His issues in training camp appear to be in the rear-view mirror, as he has shown the skills in Milwaukee that led the Predators to select him in the first round. His stickhandling, deceptive speed, and playmaking ability have been on display in the AHL, and he has been the go-to guy for the Admirals this season, especially during their recent six-game winning streak. He looks like he belongs in the NHL and deserves the chance to join the Predators roster as a player who can have an impact.

Related: 3 New Predators Behind Team’s Turnaround

One of the things that is usually written about the Predators’ prospects is how difficult it is for them to get promoted to a team with so many veterans. That may need to change very soon. With a team that has been basically sleepwalking through the early part of the season, it is time to let some of the younger players come up and try to make an impact.

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