Injuries are starting to take their toll on the Nashville Predators. Two key forwards are missing action. Is it time to consider calling up Eeli Tolvanen?
Last month, we took a look at how Eeli Tolvanen started off his first season with the Milwaukee Admirals. The Nashville Predators 2017 first round pick tallied a goal and two assists along with a +2 rating in four games. How is he faring now? And is he ready for the big leagues?
First Line Performance
Tolvanen has been manning the first line with the Admirals, who lead their division and conference. Following up on his early start, Tolvanen has upped his stats to three goals and seven assists. He had a two-goal night yesterday with one coming on an empty net. His first goal of the game was classic Eeli, if we can start saying that. Take a look.
In 16 games, his 10 points are good for 5th on the Admirals, and his 35 shots are 2nd on the team. Tolvanen is starting to hit his stride registering three multi-point games so far. Another point of note is he’s taken only two penalties. It’s clear he’s brought a disciplined approach to his game.
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Some concerns are worth mentioning, though. Tolvanen’s -5 rating is second to last on the team. He’s scored in back-to-back games only once this year, going 13 games in between goals. I’d say the pros definitely outweigh the cons in this situation. Tolvanen is registering points, albeit in bunches. We’re used to him taking each league he’s played in by storm. But I’d say he’s on par to where he should be.
Predators Next Call-Up?
In short, I don’t think Eeli Tolvanen will be called up to the Nashville Predators anytime soon. But I’ll make the case for it. Rocco Grimaldi and Frederick Gaudreau are starting to see regular ice-time. They are the placeholders for where Eeli would fit in the line-up, especially Grimaldi. But they aren’t performing. Neither player has scored a point. Together they total only 5 individual scoring chances and one high-danger chance. In contrast, last year in three games with the Predators, Tolvanen had 3 scoring chances and 2 high-danger chances.
Granted, Gaudreau plays a different position at center, so his role should be looked at with different glasses. But his faceoff percentage is a lowly 30.7%, he has no takeaways, and just two blocked shots. Grimaldi lit it up in the AHL (4G, 7A in 8 games), but has yet to translate that with the Nashville Predators.
I believe Tolvanen should be the next Admiral called up. He’s got four assists on the Power Play in Milwaukee so that could spark the Preds special teams. His scoring touch, even if it comes in bunches, needs to be displayed on a national level. Injuries are starting to pop up, so his name is likely being mentioned. Give Grimaldi and Gaudreau a little more time to prove themselves. Otherwise, it’s time to see the #11 on a Predators’ jersey again.