A decision is looming for the Nashville Predators. As TSN’s Bob McKenzie again noted in yesterday’s “Insider Trading” segment, forward Eeli Tolvanen has a European Assignment Clause that would allow him to leave North America after ten games in the AHL. When Tolvanen failed to break camp and was assigned to the Milwaukee Admirals, the countdown began. After last night, Tolvanen has skated in all six of the Admirals games and would hit ten by the end of a busy four-game stretch next week. The 2017 first-round pick came over from Jokerit of the KHL late last season and played in three regular season games for the Predators, but did not see the ice in the postseason. He was then expected to be an impact player in Nashville this year, but did not make enough of an impression in the preseason. While the Predators may be equally as disappointed in the situation as Tolvanen, it is the Finnish forward who holds all the leverage. If he opts to leave and return to the KHL, where he would make a much higher salary and play a more important role, he can’t return to the NHL this season. Nashville would lose a valued depth asset for nothing for the remainder of the year. Can and will they offer Tolvanen a full-time spot on the NHL roster? Or will the young forward see the developmental value in remaining in the AHL? If the answer to both of these questions is “no”, a budding star will soon depart from North America this season.
- Could Wojtek Wolski be eyeing a return to North America? It seems unlikely for the former Colorado Avalanche star, who has played in the KHL for parts of the last six seasons. However, Wolski and his most recent club, Mettalurg Magnitogorsk, have come to a mutual agreement on the termination of his contract, the team announced. Wolski has been a valued hired gun in the KHL for some time now, but as he enters the twilight of his career – now 32 years old with a lot of tread on the tires – Wolski could try to land a gig in the AHL or even NHL in an attempt to get back to the top level of pro hockey before his playing days are done. He certainly put on a good show for NHL eyes on the international stage last season, leading Team Canada in goals at the Olympic Games. Wolski last played in the NHL in 2012-13 with the Washington Capitals and was far from the 50-point form he showed early in his career with the Avs, but was nevertheless a serviceable player. Don’t rule out the possibility that he tries his hand at a return. Even if he doesn’t, he won’t remain unemployed for very long.
- Former Boston University forward Chase Phelps has made an interesting career move. A four-year starter for the Terriers, the undrafted Phelps was seemingly unable to land a job in North America this off-season, not showing up on any training camp rosters either. The checking forward was a reliable defensive asset for BU for four years, even if his offensive production never matched up with his USHL No. 21 overall pick tag. Yet, Phelps has found a team willing to give him a chance. French club Anglet has signed the two-way forward, the team announced. Located in the south of France, Anglet plays in the French premiere league, the “Synerglace Ligue Magnus”. Phelps was once a standout for Shattuck St. Mary’s; now moving on from the uber-competitive Hockey East Conference to the French pro ranks, perhaps he can re-discover that scoring touch.