Nashville Predators Get a Bargain with New Contract for Eeli Tolvanen

Eeli Tolvanen #28 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Eeli Tolvanen #28 of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

It’s been an offseason full of plenty to take care of for Nashville Predators GM David Poile, and his last major item on the to-do list is checked off by signing Eeli Tolvanen to a new contract.

According to Predators PR, Tolvanen is receiving a three-year contract worth $4.35M. This increased his annual cap hit from $894,166 to the $4.35M.

Also, Tolvanen performed very well to earn contract bonuses which increased his AAV to $3.115M over the last three seasons, per PuckPedia. However, his actual annual salary is obviously taking a big increase from less than $1M per season.

A low-risk, effective deal for the Nashville Predators front office

On its surface this looks like a major bargain for the Nashville Predators front office as they sign their young ascending offensive sniper to a relatively low-risk deal. At age 22, Tolvanen seemingly hasn’t even come close to hitting his peak yet, or at least that’s what you’re banking on.

If Tolvanen continues on this upward trend that I’m expecting him to do, then this is an outstandingly solid deal from the front office perspective. Three years is a safe length, and there’s a really good chance he easily outplays this during the upcoming season alone.

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Tolvanen has less than 50 games of NHL experience under his belt, but his path to getting regular NHL minutes boosts my confidence in him. He took the preferred gradual route to the NHL by playing in both the KHL and AHL before getting the opportunity to make a big impact on the Predators rosters last season.

Now the question remains of where he fits into the starting lineup initially as the Nashville Predators will open up their 2021-22 campaign on October 14 against the Seattle Kraken. The expectations is for him to be in the top-six, but who is linemates should be is up for debate and will probably be settled in training camp.

Having Forsberg and Tolvanen on the same line is still something I want to see right out of the gate. They can mutually benefit from each other on their respective wings, and who centers them can be determined between Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene or Granlund.

Tolvanen also has the chance to really outplay this contract and set himself up for a really hefty payday after these three years are up. That’s all you can really ask for at his young age is to get the chance to show your NHL club that drafted you in the first round that you’re a franchise player for the long-term.

Poile has caught a lot of flack this offseason for not being an effective general manager anymore, and that the team needs to move on in a different direction. That may have some merit to it, but you also can’t gloss over the fact that he’s made some effective in-house signings and necessary moves to set this team up going into what’s being coined as a “competitive rebuild”.

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Tolvanen should end up being one of the top goal scorers on this defensive-minded team next season, along with Filip Forsberg, Mikael Granlund and Roman Josi. He’s a major part of this rebuild and how fast it goes by, so getting him to such a team-friendly deal is a win for the front office.