Eeli Tolvanen still in the minors
I have to admit, it’s a little puzzling to see that Eeli Tolvanen has failed to find his way back into the everyday lineup yet.
Given his lack of experience, a slow start from Tolvanen is not exactly shocking, but, after eight games, it still seems wrong to see one of our best offensive prospects struggle to make the big-league squad.
Overall, it is understandable that the organization is giving the 19-year old a chance to gain more ice-time in the AHL before making a permanent transition to the NHL, but, the move seems conservative nonetheless.
In all likelihood, it is fair to assume that the 19-year old will get called back up to the Predators and show how far he developed over the summer; especially after his recent three assist performance for the Admirals.
Hopefully, when he does, assists like this are something we get to see frequently in Smashville:
Finally, the Predators are in real danger of losing Tolvanen for the foreseeable future if he plays 10 games in the AHL this year. The situation becomes even dicier should he then opt to go back to the KHL or elsewhere overseas.
Whose roster spot Tolvanen may snatch must also be considered should he get called up in the next week or two. In the most likely scenario, Zac Rinaldo will be substituted out of the lineup, but, as discussed earlier, his play has been decent. Maybe you keep Rinaldo and move out Miika Salomaki?
This is the challenge you face when you have a deep roster full of good players.
Even with his deficiencies, the Predators have to get Tolvanen back up to the big leagues. His talent on the power-play alone warrants him a spot on the NHL roster. It is awful that after nearly 10 games, Tolvanen has still not returned to Nashville. How this unfolds will be determined in the coming weeks, but, the dilemma regarding our 2016 first-round pick is considerably unsettling.