Philip Tomasino of the Niagara IceDogs is a rising prospect in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. His ability to produce at the offensive end with his well-balanced attack along with being one of the elite skaters in the draft class has led to his ascension in the scouting community. A strong second half where he produced over 1.25 points-per-game from November on led him to be one of the more intriguing prospects in this draft class.
Hockey Card Stats
Name: Philip Tomasino
Club Team: Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
D.O.B: July 28th, 2001
Nationality (Place of Birth): Canadian (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada)
Fun fact: Tomasino was the highest draft pick ever selected by the Niagara IceDogs at fifth overall in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection Draft.
Ranked #18 by HOCKEYPROSPECT.COM
Ranked #22 by FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS
Ranked #18 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #20 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #14 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #31 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #34 by TSN/McKenzie
Skating and Transition
Tomasino’s skating is what sets him apart. The forward has phenomenal top speed and reaches it in just a few steps. With extremely good acceleration and burst, he does an excellent job at attacking the neutral zone with the puck on his stick. When generating speed in transition, Tomasino does an excellent job maneuvering around opponents who get caught flat-footed and backed off the opposition that is in motion. His strong edgework allows him to cut and weave in all three zones giving him the ability to skate out of danger in his own zone and into dangerous areas in the offensive zone. In the video below, you can see Tomasino drive to the net, making a power move to score a goal.
Tomasino uses his exceptional skating arsenal to change direction on a whim and the ability to stop-and-start causing havoc for defensive players. Using that to his advantage, he is able to create space for himself and draw an extra defender opening up space for his teammates across the ice. The Mississauga native has very good hockey IQ and uses quick decision making to take advantage of the space that his skating creates. As his greatest tool, Tomasino’s skating will likely improve in terms of speed and power as he continues to physically mature as he grows into his 20’s. Below is a video of Tomasino making an excellent pass on a quick decision in the neutral zone. This creates a very good zone entry and leads directly to a goal.
The draft-riser does an excellent job at entering the offensive zone, using his balance and ability change of direction seemingly instantaneously. He does an excellent job at using players at various spots on the ice to quickly give-and-go at the blue line to create and friction-free zone entry. At times he makes one too many moves and throws off his lines mates timing, causing an offside. While this is a habit that can be fixed, it’s something that Tomasino will have to learn. Sometimes making a simple play can lead to more efficient results.
The offensive skill set that Tomasino possesses is enviable. He has all of the tools that a top-six forward would need. His shot is excellent. His passing ability is crisp and accurate. He has a good vision of the ice and a knack for making a good play into a great one. His IQ ensures that he is consistently driving the pay towards the dangerous areas of the offensive zone whether it’s a pass to the home plate area or driving to the net, staying strong on his edges. In the following video, Tomasino drives through the slot and receives a pass. From there he makes a move before putting the puck in the back of the net.
His playmaking ability is vastly underrated. He shows exemplary decision making with the puck, often threading passes to open players throughout the offensive zone. He shows a willingness to use his defencemen at the point, often times deferring to them if he gets into trouble along the boards rather than forcing a play. Tomasino looks to first attack the middle of the ice by weaving a pass into the slot whenever the chance arises. He uses his skating to draw defenders towards him and waits until the last second to make the pass ensuring that the recipient has as much time as possible.
Dynamic as a scorer, Tomasino does an excellent job at scoring in a variety of ways. An uncanny ability to score in tight, he does an excellent job elevating the puck from impossible angles in tight. He owns a very good shot. Able to score off the rush, he is very good at playing a two-on-one properly opening up for a shot as the attacker without the puck. With the puck in the same situation, he is very deceptive and hides his decision whether to pass or shoot with good stick work and looking the goalie off to create openings in the corners of the net. Tomasino has a good one-timer and the ability to get it off quickly. He struggles at times along the boards and as a net-front presence when competing against larger defenders. In this video, you can see Tomasino enter the offensive zone and then toe drag the defender before firing a well-placed shot for a goal.
Tomasino’s compete level is consistently high in the offensive zone. When watching the video below, Tomasino does an excellent job of driving to the net, cutting towards the net and drawing a penalty. He’s a tenacious player who, although outmuscled at times, battles hard for the puck when it’s not on his teams sticks Unafraid to hold the puck to the outside and drive around defenders, the IceDogs forward is able to do things at the junior level that will likely need added muscle and strength to continue to do in the NHL.
Defensively, Tomasino is a hard worker and uses his skating to his advantage. He does a good job as a winger defending the point, closing on the puck carrier quickly, forcing a pass or shot earlier than desired. He gets his stick into passing lanes, cutting off passes high in the zone with the ability to skate the puck out and alleviate pressure from the tops of the circles out. In the video below, you can see Tomasino originally exiting the zone before realizing the puck was turned over. He transitions back and covers for his vacant defender. He keeps his stick in the lane and turns the puck over before feathering the puck out of the zone.
When down low in the zone, he struggles with his lack of strength. Unable to move his opposition off the puck with any consistency, he will need to work on his strength. He often tries to poke the puck free when the battle in along the boards rather than leaning into a player along the boards. His positioning, once he gets below the dots, is inconsistent as he gets a little overanxious at times, causing him to be out of position. He can recover from that quicker than most players because of his high-end speed and acceleration.
Year in Review
IceDogs Slow Start
Tomasino’s season didn’t begin exactly the way he had hoped. He struggled to produced to start the year. His three goals and eight points in his first 16 games of the season began his draft-eligible season on a sour note. While he was flashing his tools, his skating was exceptional, he still failed to produce at a rate that was to expectations. The IceDogs played Tomasino at both wing and center at times, often using him as the secondary face-off man in an important situation.
He went scoreless in 11 of those 16 games with just one multipoint game. A four assist performance against the North Bay Battalion made an absolutely dreadful start more bearable. The fact that the process for Tomasino was still there despite the lacking production was a good sign for the IceDogs forward.
Video courtesy of Hockey Prospect Center
Resurgence and Strong Second Half
The high-speed forward came into his own once the calendar turned to November. In his final 51 games, he was able to put up 64 points, good for 1.25 points-per-game. It all started with a hot November in which Tomasino put up 17 points in just 11 games to get himself back on track. His hard work and commitment to playing his game resulted in a regression to his expected production, even exceeding it slightly.
For the remainder of the regular season, Tomasino was an offensive powerhouse. Pushing the pace for Niagara, he was able to continue producing at his November rate. His ability to skate and his offensive toolset allowed Tomasino’s rise up many draft boards. His ability to work through his early-season struggles and then his consistent development led him into being one of the most dangerous scorers in the second half of the season.
In a mid-February three games in three nights situation, Tomasino was an absolute powerhouse. Pushing the IceDogs attack, allowing the young Canadian winger to show off his skill and speed combination was often too much for still-developing young players to handle. Creating space by backing defenders off, Tomasino was able to take advantage of timid defensive play by creating opportunities for himself and his teammates.
Canadian U18 World Championships
Tomasino played a supporting role on the Canadian squad at the U18 World Championships this past spring. When on the ice, his impact was felt as he had five points in six games. While he wasn’t a massive difference maker throughout the tournament, he was good in his depth role. He showed off his excellent skating, outclassing the competition from less prominent hockey countries in that regard. His passing was crisp and he created offensively with the puck on his stick. Overall, his tournament was efficient but not flashy. He was a solid player who didn’t become a liability on the defensive end despite his muted offensive role.
Conclusion and the Draft
The 2019 NHL Entry Draft features some high-end speed and skill. Tomasino pairs his high-end speed and skill with decent size, making him one of the more intriguing prospects in this draft. His poor start stagnated his position in many teams rankings to start the year but the increased production led to a rise towards the end of the year. Driving his play with his elite skating ability and his truly balanced pass-shoot approach to the game. He owns the skills to create goal scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. He works hard all over the ice, even if at this stage in his career his defensive coverage isn’t NHL ready. His flaws, for the most part, are coachable and he can, and likely will die to his work ethic and drive, improve as he matures physically.
Where Tomasino goes in the draft is anyone’s guess. He’s a prospect oozing with offensive potential and he’s also one of the younger top prospects in this draft. The book of Tomasino’s late-season success has begun to spread like wildfire, reaching everyone from scouts to general managers. Tomasino could be a player who sneaks into the 10-15 range and no one would bat an eye. Widely ranked anywhere from 11 to 28, Tomasino’s meteoric rise among the scouting community could be one of the biggest developments as the draft inches closer by the day.
His draft slot will likely be a point of discussion on draft day just due to some of the varying opinions on the upside of the forward. The fact that he isn’t destined to play center at the next level may lead to some variance in where he goes as well. While the chance to play center is there, his game seems to fit along the wing. Whether it be his ability to produce off the half wall in the offensive zone or the fact that he’s more successful defensively when left to cover the wall and blue line in his own end, his ability to play center is more of a secondary option. Similar to how he’s been a secondary center and face-off man for the IceDogs, he will likely play the same role at the next level. Which team drafts the forward will be getting a speedy, shifty, offensive machine who with more physical development could be a very good top-six forward on a contending team.
Thank you for taking the deep dive on one of the most intriguing forwards in this upcoming draft, Philip Tomasino. Come back soon for more draft prospect deep dives from the Dobber Prospects team! Leave comments below and you can always reach out to me personally on twitter at @TheTonyFerrari!
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