As the 2019 NHL Entry Draft approaches, the Los Angeles Kings have their work cut out for them, including making decisions on two first-round picks: the fifth pick and the 22nd pick, thanks to the Toronto Maple Leafs. From now until the draft, the staff of Jewels from the Crown will be taking a look at some draft-eligible players to help introduce some young men who could very possibly be future Kings.
If he’s there with the 33rd pick in the draft, don’t be shocked if you hear this in the second round:
“With the 33rd pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Los Angeles Kings select, from the Niagara IceDogs, Philip Tomasino.”
And why not?
The versatile Philip Tomasino—he can play center and right wing—and is said to be built to play in the new, modern NHL, playing with speed and pace with the keen ability to move the part smartly. But, before we get into the strengths and weaknesses, let’s get the basics out of the way…
HOCKEY CARD STATS
Born: July 28, 2001 (Age 17)
Place of Birth: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Weight: 181 lbs.
2018-19 Season: Niagara IceDogs
Regular Season: 67 Games, 72 Points (34G, 38A), 32 PIM
Playoffs: 11 Games, 7 Points (4G, 3A), 5 PIM
#14—NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (North American Skaters)
Tomasino adapts to any situation and it showed this past season as he shifted from his natural center position to right wing and his game exploded, moving from five goals in the 2017-18 season to 34 this past season. His biggest strength is his off-the-puck positioning, which gets him to the right spots at the right times. He is a forceful skater with elite acceleration and the unique skill to change speeds find the faint light of open space in the offensive zone. Double down is this top-end speed makes him an handful for defenders to challenge off the rush.
When things aren’t going well, teammates look to him to energize the game and often this leadership is infectious. Tomasino has shown a strong will to inject his play in the defensive zone and his effort overcomes his lack of strength with sheer sweat equity.
There a few areas of concern that will keep Tomasino from reaching the NHL in the next year or two. His core strength is low and this affects his ability to stay strong on the puck and fight through defenders. His wrist shot is above average and extremely accurate but the power needs work. He possesses an abrasive playing style which often drives rivals to make silly choices, but without a push for more upper body strength, his game will not be able to make that leap. He fishes for pucks more than you would hope for and that puts him into awkward one-on-one defensive situations. Some good coaching and weight trainers can propel him to being NHL ready faster than expected.
WHY THE KINGS SHOULD TAKE A CHANCE
Tomasino’s versatility is intriguing. Although many project him in the top-9 slot at the NHL level, he is nonetheless projected as a very late first rounder or early second rounder, meaning the Kings won’t be able to wait past the 33rd pick. He spent the majority of his post-trade deadline last season winging it with elite Kings prospect Akil Thomas and amassed a stellar point tally. Imagine them recreating this at the NHL level. He has the talent to evolve into Max Domi that will far exceed mock draft projections.
“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.” Peter Harling / Dobber
2019 KINGS DRAFT PICKS
ICYMI—Barring a pre-draft trade, the Los Angeles Kings have ten picks among the pool of talent available on June 21st and 22nd:
Round 1, Pick 5
Round 1, Pick 22
Round 2, Pick 33
Round 3, Pick 64
Round 3 Pick 87
Round 4, Pick 95
Round 4, Pick 108
Round 5, Pick 126
Round 6, Pick 157
Round 7, Pick 188