In every draft class, there’s a player that the scouting community can’t believe isn’t getting more buzz. Perhaps it’s because this year features a heck of a crop from the Western Hockey League and the U.S. National Development Program, but Ontario Hockey League speedster Philip Tomasino is a hidden gem that could fall to the Calgary Flames at 26th overall.
Tomasino is really young compared to the rest of the draft class, as he’s a July 2001 birthday – he turns 18 a month after the draft. An Ontario kid, he’s listed as 6’0″ and 181 pounds and he’s a right shot center. He’s not huge, but he’s not tiny. In his second full season in the OHL with the Niagara IceDogs, he jumped from five goals and 24 points to 34 goals and 72 points.
Peter Harling of Dobber Prospects provided a detailed breakdown of Tomasino’s game:
Tomasino is a speedy, high-energy player. His engine never quits and he seems to play harder when the opposition has possession. Tomasino is a quick player and keeps his feet moving, even when he has the puck. He can play a physical game, throwing hits to create turnovers or shoulder his way past a defender. His puck possession skills are impressive as the combination of his skills and tenacity lend to solid possession ability. He has a quick release and accurate shot but is equally capable of shooting or creating scoring chances for teammates. Tomasino plays a game that I can see being successful at the NHL level after he has fully developed in time. His ability to force turnovers and steal the puck and ability to produce offence reminds me of Mark Stone.
OHL Propsects guru Brock Otten shared his thoughts on the IceDogs forward:
Tomasino had such an impressive sophomore season in the OHL. He received little powerplay time and was even buried in a deep lineup at times, but still managed to produce over a point per game. His 30 even strength goals this year were tops in the OHL among U18 players. He was also second to only Nathan Legare in the entire CHL. And considering the fact that I think Tomasino’s shot could actually stand to improve and his goal scoring ability is one of his weaker areas, that’s mighty impressive and speaks to how well rounded of a player he truly is. At the heart of Tomasino’s game is his explosive skating ability. While he may not possess the high end top speed of a guy like Liam Foudy or Alex Formenton, his first few steps are among the best in the OHL and gives him that quick strike/separation ability. This allows him to be excellent in transition.
Otten added that Tomasino needs to work on his defensive consistency.
All-told, though, Tomasino is a middle-sized package who boasts speed, smarts and was low-key one of the most productive players in his age group last season.
Tomasino was 17 years of age for the entire OHL season. He had 34 goals and 72 points. That output places him 40th in the entire league in points and 32nd in goals. Compared to other first-time draft eligible players, he was tied for third in points and was third in goals. At five-on-five, he led draft eligibles in goals and points (and was second in primary points).
Internationally, Tomasino generated just under a point-per-game for Canada at the Under-18 Worlds. He only had one goal, but clicked well as a set-up man for his teammates.
Availability and fit
Tomasino is a player that, based on the projections, would likely have to slide a little bit to land in the Flames’ lap: ISS has him 19th, Dobber Prospects has him 26th, the Draft Analyst/Sporting News has him 29th, my rankings at The Hockey Writers have him 23rd, Sportsnet has him 25th, The Athletic has him 17th and 34th, and The Hockey News has him 41st.
If Tomasino lands in the Flames lap, they should draft him and not second-guess it. He’s not huge, so his scoring this season isn’t a product of him rag-dolling smaller kids. He’s not tiny, so there are fewer questions about his scoring translating than, say, Bobby Brink or Jakob Pelletier. He is part of a pretty deep team, but the evidence suggests that he was a driver of the team’s offense as much of any of the veterans were. The Flames need right shot forwards who can play a 200-foot game. If he slides to 26th, Tomasino would fit like a glove.
2019 first round targets
Egor Afanasyev | John Beecher | Tobias Björnfot | Bobby Brink | Simon Holmström | Pavel Dorofeyev | Anttoni Honka | Ryan Johnson | Spencer Knight | Brett Leason | Connor McMichael | Ilya Nikolayev | Jakob Pelletier | Samuel Poulin | Patrik Puistola | Matthew Robertson | Nick Robertson | Lassi Thomson