Seattle Kraken, Eeli Tolvanen

Kraken Nab Tolvanen, Once ‘All the Rage’ in Nashville

Important Kraken Pick-up?

The Seattle Kraken claimed Finnish forward Eeli Tolvanen off waivers from the Nashville Predators on Monday. He has joined the team in Tampa. No word if they’ll pop him into the line-up against the Lightning on Tuesday, maybe a bit of a tall order given the timing, but either way he’ll be on hand.

Roster-wise, Tolvanen essentially replaces extra forward Karson Kuhlman who was placed on waivers by the Kraken on Monday. Kuhlman is right-handed. Tolvanen, definitely a skill upgrade, is a lefty who prefers the right side.

“He was very excited when he found out it was Seattle,” Tolvanen’s Orr Group agent Michael Curran told Seattle Hockey Insider on Monday.

“He’s a new face in a new place and he looks forward to earning a spot,” Curran added.

Tolvanen’s availability is a remarkable piece of information if one hearkens back to the widespread hype regarding this player in 2017 and 2018. He was Finland’s version of the second coming.

It’s not as if he wasn’t a known commodity after spending two seasons scoring in the USHL junior league. From there he went home to play professionally in 2017 for Helsinki-based Jokerit in the Russian KHL where he shattered rookie scoring records. Beginning in 2018, his first two full seasons in North America saw him spend most of his time in the American Hockey League.

Eeli’s NHL Game

The Predators 1st-round, 30th-overall selection in the 2017 NHL Draft finally made the big show fulltime in the Covid-shortened 2020-’21 season when he tallied 11 goals and 11 assists in 40 games.

Since then, his ice time and scoring have gradually waned.

So what has occurred with this player who’s often been referred to as “supremely talented”? These days the pro scouts reports vary, and Seattle Hockey Insider has talked to a few.

The good: A sniper with an elite release and excellent skills who’s not uncomfortable in his own end.

The not-so-good: He’s streaky and a bit inconsistent with his compete. A bit ‘light’. Needs to be more effective when he’s not scoring.

Keep in mind, Tolvanen’s only 23-years-old. As we know, some take a bit longer to develop than others.

Given his skating dexterity and the Kraken’s balanced scoring, Tolvanen has the potential to be a deadly addition as an offensive threat. All four lines and the blueline have contributed; Seattle has produced 19 different goal scorers this season.

Tight to the cap, the Predators had to make a roster move due to call-ups forced upon them by injuries. Tolvanen was the odd man out.

“Change for a young guy can be disappointing, but it can also lead to opportunity,” Curran said.

Indeed, the timing could be fortuitous for both Tolvanen and Seattle.

It sounds like a change of scenery will do him wonders. If so, the Kraken will be in a very happy place; if not, it’s definitely worth giving this Finn a chance.

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.