There is no need to say this almost... The Nashville Predators are scary. Last spring, they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, to lose in six games to the repeating champions the Pittsburgh Penguins. Hearts were broken, but determination went up another level.
And now, the Preds' offensive threat just went up another level as well. Predators forward prospect Eeli Tolvanen's KHL season concluded on Saturday, meaning he is now free to sign with the team as is expected.
His KHL club, Jokerit was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs after a Game 6 loss. Tolvanen's KHL contract includes a clause that allows him to opt out of the deal after one season.
Earlier this month, Tolvanen's agent Jay Grossman revealed that it is the "collective goal" of Tolvanen and the Predators for the 18-year-old to join the team this season.
"You're asking a lot of a young player to come in and play at this time of year in (the) playoffs," Predators general manager David Poile explained on 104.5-FM on Thursday.
"However it turns out, if and when we get him over here, it's going to be great experience for him, more depth for us."
Based on the NHL's collective bargaining agreement, the Predators can offer Tolvanen a three-year, entry-level contract. However, there are some specific rules to follow with the deal. Tolvanen can take part in up to nine games this season without burning the first year of his contract. However, playoff games count toward that total.
"If a player who is signed to an entry-level contract and is 18 or 19 years of age (as of September 15 of the signing year), does not play in a minimum of 10 NHL games (including both regular season and playoffs; AHL games do not count), their contract is considered to ‘slide’, or extend, by one year," you can read on Cap Friendly.
The Preds selected Tolvanen in the first round, 30th overall, last June, and word around the league is that he is one of the most talented prospects out there. The addition of Tolvanen during the postseason could be a game-changer for the already-menacing Preds.
He tallied 19 goals and 36 points in his rookie season. Both totals were the highest by an under-19 player in KHL history. Fans in American might have caught a glimpse of Tolvanen during the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, where he totalled nine points in five games for Finland.
Earlier this week, the kid took part in the longest game in KHL's history as the fifth game of the series lasted 142:09, with five overtimes, before Mika Niemi scored the game-winner in a 2-1 victory over CSKA Moscow.