According to a report from Finnish hockey insider Pekka Jalonen, top prospect Eeli Tolvanen has officially signed a three year, entry level contract with the Nashville Predators.
While this news in itself isn’t particularly surprising, the terms surrounding Tolvanen’s deal are quite surprising. According to Jalonen, Tolvanen’s contract has the same terms as top picks Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews and Nico Hischier. Tolvanen also has a clause that would him to bolt back to the KHL should the Preds decide to demote him to the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals.
Wow… that’s a lot of trust from the Predators organization. Tolvanen is a top prospect, but there’s no one in hockey mentioning him in the same breath as the above mentioned played. McDavid, Matthews and Hischier were all first overall picks, while Eichel was taken 2nd overall. Tolvanen is a 30th overall pick and just 18 years old. What’s the old saying, “One of these things is not like the other?”
To be fair, the teenage scoring sensation absolutely tore up the KHL in his rookie season, scoring 21 goals and 30 points in 51 games. While those numbers may not jump right off the page, keep in mind that the kid is just 18 years old. He has so much more to room to grow. The Nummela, Finland native was selected 30th overall by the Predators at this past June’s 2017 NHL Entry Draft and won six Rookie of the Week honors and two Rookie of the Month honors this season in the KHL. He was also a KHL All-Star and was named to the Olympic All-Star team in Pyeogchang after putting up a remarkable three goals and nine points in just five games at the Olympics. In short, the kid is legit.
His KHL club, Jokerit Helsinki, officially terminated his contract just yesterday, freeing him up to sign today’s historic contract.
Now that he’s officially a Predator, Tolvanen gives the team yet another offensive weapon on the wing. The Preds already boast Viktor Arvidsson, Craig Smith and Ryan Hartman on the right side, but it’s not unreasonable to think that Tolvanen could bump one of those players down the lineup. Tolvanen can also play the left side and perhaps could slide into Kevin Fiala’s spot or Scott Hartnell’s spot on the 2nd or 3rd line. Any way you look at it, Tolvanen provides the already offensively deep Preds with an added element.