Lancers Look To Stay Hot During USHL Playoffs

The Predators have added more offensive firepower for their playoff run.

Eeli Tolvanen, Nashville's top prospect, signed a three-year, entry-level contract Thursday, the team announced, setting the stage for his hyped NHL arrival. Upon making his first appearance in Nashville and participating in morning practice, Tolvanen will make his debut in one of the Predators' final six games, general manager David Poile said, and will look to stay white hot as the latest reinforcement on a deep team that already owns the Western Conference's best record.

As has been noted elsewhere, Eeli Tolvanen's contract will be the maximum allowable for entry-level players — $925,000 in total salary and up to $2.85 million in performance bonuses per year. https://t.co/lFeKPjoI4N

— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) March 29, 2018

He’s here.@eeli1999 is on the ice for #Preds morning skate ahead of #SJSvsNSH. pic.twitter.com/PegZxpMiBV

— x-Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) March 29, 2018

The 18-year-old, drafted 30th overall in 2017, torched the Kontinental Hockey League with Jokerit and set teenage scoring records in his first season as a professional, which ended last week in the Gargarin Cup playoffs. Tolvanen's 19 goals and 46 points as a KHL rookie were the most ever by a player 19 years old or younger.

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Jokerit agreed to release the Finland native from his contract Monday, paving the way for a smooth transition to the NHL.

#Jokerit and @eeli1999 have mutually agreed to terminate the player’s contract. What a season for the boy wonder! We thank Eeli for his fantastic performances and wish him the best of luck in future games! #KHL pic.twitter.com/VDLuZwGeEJ

— Jokerit Helsinki (@Jokerit_EN) March 26, 2018

The Predators hope Tolvanen's high-scoring reputation precedes him. Joining Ryan Hartman, acquired from Chicago at the trade deadline, and Mike Fisher, who the Predators coaxed out of retirement, Tolvanen adds yet another top-nine scoring option to a forward group which boasts 10 players with 10 goals or more, by far most in the league.

That's not counting the 51 goals scored by Nashville defensemen.

Tolvanen also thrived on the international stage. He scored six points in five games for Finland at the 2018 World Junior Championship before tying for second in tournament scoring (three goals, nine points) during the Olympics in Pyeongchang. And while the NHL's far superior size and speed will require an adjustment, Tolvanen (5-10, 170 pounds) is already accustomed to North America's smaller playing surface, having spent two seasons in the USHL prior to his draft year, piling up 91 points in 101 games.

Tolvanen was viewed at the 2017 draft as a project prospect, leading to 29 teams passing him over. His sharp ascendance might breed skepticism over the immediacy with which he can help the Predators, but Tolvanen's already shown an ability to dominate among professionals. There's no reason to doubt he can figure out the NHL in short order.

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“He didn't pass pucks or work hard. Nobody doubted his high-end skill and his elite shot but his goals were from outside the dots,” an anonymous scout told The Athletic. “It all added up to him falling way too far. Usually high-end skill and scoring like him goes high and so far he’s proved a lot of us wrong. Lesson learned.” 

Playing sheltered minutes and in favorable situations with the Predators should help Tolvanen do what he does best: Score. As if Nashville needs any more of that.

Source : http://www.sportingnews.com/us/nhl/news/eeli-tolvanen-watch-contract-details-predators-nhl-playoffs-khl-jokerit-olympics/h7hmpdzhkf991dks1rx1h3ux3

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