The Nashville Predators have sent down one of their top prospects for some more seasoning. From there, we will take a trip overseas to Russia and check in on recent draft picks by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).
Philip Tomasino Heads to Chicago
After spending the first couple of weeks on the taxi squad, the Predators have sent Tomasino down to the Chicago Wolves in the American Hockey League (AHL). In a normal season, he would be heading to the Milwaukee Admirals, but they decided to opt-out of the shortened 2020-21 AHL season. The Wolves, who are in their first season as the Carolina Hurricanes’ affiliate, are also taking on players under contract with Nashville.
Tomasino is still looking to make his professional debut and should get some healthy playing time on a stacked Chicago roster. The 2019 first-round pick is coming off a very successful World Junior Championship tournament where he had four goals and six points in Team Canada’s silver medal run. The original plan for the 2020-21 season was likely returning to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), but since they have yet to begin their season, he is getting time within the Predators organization.
In a corresponding move, Nashville reassigned forward Matthieu Olivier to the taxi squad. The 23-year-old appeared in five games for the Predators this season and recorded one assist.
Rodion Amirov Shows Off Wrister
Amirov is another youngster who had an impressive showing at the World Junior Championship. He scored two goals and six points in seven tournament games for Russia as they came home in a disappointing fourth place.
The 19-year-old winger has had a few games under his belt since returning from the tournament and he is starting to get back into the swing of things in the KHL. On Thursday, he scored the opening goal in Salavat Yulaev’s 3-2 win over Amur Khabarovsk.
Amirov made a nice play by getting the puck off the boards and skating back to the slot. Once there, he showed off his impressive wrist shot by shooting back to his right and over the glove hand of goaltender Evgeny Alikin.
This was Amirov’s sixth goal of the season to go along with four assists. He is averaging just under 14 minutes of ice time per game in his 31 appearances with Salavat. The Maple Leafs drafted the talented young forward with the 15th overall pick of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
Dmitri Voronkov Makes the Highlight Reel
Voronokov had one of the best goals of the KHL season on Thursday as he scored the eventual game-winning goal in Ak Bars Kazan’s 3-1 victory over Avtomobilist Fkaterinburg. He showed off a ton of skill in getting to the net and finishing off this beauty of a tally.
The young forward started the play by being tough on the puck and getting through defenseman Korbinian Holzer. Voronokov then quickly went from his forehand to the backhand to slide the puck underneath the pads of netminder Jakub Kovar.
Voronokov now has seven and 17 points in 41 games for Ak Bars. He is averaging 14:44 of ice time per game on a roster that also includes former NHL players Nigel Dawes, Viktor Tikhonov and Alexander Burmistrov. He has 11 goals and 28 points in 79 career KHL games.
The Blue Jackets drafted the 20-year-old Voronokov in the fourth round (114th overall) of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He is best known for using his big frame and size to advantage to win one-on-one battles and gaining inside position. However, he showed with this goal that there is some skill to go along with his size that could go a long way in getting him over North America in the future.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.