NASHVILLE -- Philip Tomasino is hoping his speed puts him on the fast track to the NHL with the Nashville Predators.
The Predators selected the 17-year-old forward in the first round (No. 24) of the 2019 NHL Draft.
"I'm a guy who likes to drive the play with his speed, makes plays for himself and for his teammates," Tomasino said at Predators development camp in June. "I think I'm a guy who can be counted upon to get the job done anywhere on the ice. I think I need to get stronger for sure, especially to be able to play against [NHL] guys. I'm probably kind of a 50-50 guy in terms of shooting and passing. I've learned to shoot the puck a lot more."
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Tomasino had 72 points (34 goals, 38 assists) in 67 games with Niagara of the Ontario Hockey League last season, a 48-point improvement from his rookie season in 2017-18. The Mississauga, Ontario, native played for Canada at the 2019 IIHF World U18 Championship and had five points (one goal, four assists) in six games.
Whether it's sticking around for a long look at NHL training camp or returning to Niagara for another season, Tomasino wants to increase his production and get on track to become a top-six forward for the Predators in the near future.
"You want to come to main camp and impress for sure, but I'll probably be back in Niagara next year," Tomasino said. "I want to be one of the guys our coach can depend on. Hopefully it's going to be a big year in terms of a lot more scoring and stuff like that. I just want to be on a winning team and do everything I can do to help the team win."
Video: Predators draft F Philip Tomasino No. 24
Tomasino has been compared by some scouts and experts around the NHL to Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux.
"Well, obviously he's an outstanding player," Tomasino said. "He's one of the best in the League. Still a lot of work to be done from me to be as good as he is. Obviously, it's pretty cool that some people say that, but at the same time, I'm nowhere close to what he's done. If I do get the chance to be as good as him one day, that would be amazing, but there's still a lot of work to be done in order to get there. I'm looking forward to the journey and looking forward to hopefully playing against him real soon."
Tomasino was eager to make an impression at development camp, but the thrill of draft night hadn't worn off.
"I didn't really know what to expect coming in," Tomasino said. "I've had a few buddies that have been drafted and had that same feeling, but it was awesome. I was kind of nervous all day, didn't really eat too much food before the draft. It was fun. I had to wait, and watching some of my buddies get drafted as well was pretty cool. It was easily the best night of my life."
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