As expected, Eeli Tolvanen’s time with the Nashville Predators is over (at least for now). The former top prospect has been claimed off waivers by the Seattle Kraken, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet.
Given Seattle’s place in the standings, quite a few teams passed on the chance to take the 23-year-old sniper. Sean Shapiro of EP Rinkside tweets that the Predators’ front office was “pretty confident” that Tolvanen would clear, likely because of the $1.45MM cap hit that Seattle will be taking on in full. Signed to a three-year, $4.35MM deal in 2021, Tolvanen has just two goals and four points this season in 13 games. He hasn’t played since November 19, and even then was seeing limited minutes.
Expansion clubs are often where a player can rejuvenate their career, though, and perhaps the Kraken can do it for Tolvanen, the 30th overall pick in 2017. A rather similar player, Daniel Sprong, had experienced his own rollercoaster ride through waivers and trades before arriving in Seattle, where he seems to have found a home with 15 points in 20 games so far this season.
There is no shortage of skill in Tolvanen, who possesses one of the hardest shots in the league and has scored at every level – including the NHL. In his rookie season, he had 11 goals and 22 points in just 40 games, totals that were only barely matched in his sophomore year.
It is important to remember that several teams could not have claimed Tolvanen because of cap space, and the Philadelphia Flyers didn’t have a contract slot available. Still, it is somewhat surprising that he reached the Kraken, who were 23rd in line.