The Nashville Predators have decided to send another prospect overseas for the time being, loaning Eeli Tolvanen to Jokerit of the KHL. In the release, the team notes that the loan only lasts until the start of NHL training camp for the 2020-21 season, meaning Tolvanen will be back to compete for a spot.
Now 21, Tolvanen has been quite the cautionary tale in prospect over-hyping so far. The 30th selection in 2017, Tolvanen quickly found success at the KHL level, setting records as one of the most successful teenaged-players in the league’s history. He scored 19 goals an 36 points in 49 games for Jokerit during the 2017-18 season, with six more tallies in 11 playoff games. That sharpshooting led to him becoming one of the most talked-about prospects in the world at the time, but after coming to North America things quickly quieted.
Tolvanen ended up playing three games for the Predators at the end of the 2017-18 season, but was held scoreless and did not participate in the playoffs. The following season he spent almost exclusively in the minor leagues, scoring 35 points for the Milwaukee Admirals. This year was more of the same, as Tolvanen did not see a single recall all season, instead playing in 63 AHL games.
While he’s scored at a reasonable clip in those minor league matches, totaling 36 goals in 126 games, Tolvanen has clearly not been the all-world prospect that many hoped for when he first arrived. There is still plenty of time for him to develop the rest of his game around that lethal snapshot, which is exactly why the team will let him get in some extra game action over the next few months.