No one really expected Eeli Tolvanen to clear waivers after the Nashville Predators shockingly put him out there for the taking on Sunday.
The writing was on the wall going back to last season that Tolvanen’s time in a Nashville Predators uniform was dwindling. After being a healthy scratch for the past couple of weeks, it was clear that this relationship was coming to an end albeit by trade or waivers.
Tolvanen has been claimed by the Seattle Kraken, a rising team who is having a strong start to their second season in the NHL:
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It’s a really difficult pill to swallow for me as the Nashville Predators organization has once again kept the status quo of being horrendous at developing offensive talent. Tolvanen was just another stain on the organization.
When Tolvanen was drafted in 2017, he was widely considered as a major steal for the Predators. A prospect with pure goal scoring abilities and a wicked sniper of a shot. Perfect fit for the offensively starved Predators.
At the time, TSN’s Craig Button said, “I can’t speak to why he wasn’t drafted until No. 30, so was I surprised? Absolutely. The Predators are unbelievably fortunate to get him.”
We all echoed those thoughts from Button in 2017. Tolvanen was an exciting draft selection, but after a long road of trying to round out his game, the system didn’t work for Tolvanen’s skill set.
I like this landing spot for Tolvanen. He gets to join a quality team with high postseason potential, and now he can prove himself. When a team makes a waiver claim for a player, it means they obviously see some type of potential fit and there’s no risk involved other than taking on the player’s salary:
Tolvanen has a pretty minimal salary compared to what his ceiling could eventually end up being. Again, I think Tolvanen was more a product of his system and can flourish within a more structured offensive-minded team.
Where do the Nashville Predators go from here? Well, Tolvanen hadn’t played a game since November 19th. The Predators might be paving a way to eventually see Philip Tomasino return to the NHL lineup after spending the whole season up to this point in the AHL.
This lineup has very little offensive pop to it right now. They’re 29th in scoring and 28th in power play amounting for less than three goals per game. Who is going to ignite this offense?
Tolvanen finishes his Nashville Predators career with 135 games, 25 goals, 26 assists, seven power play goals and a low average ice time of just 13:45. He was just never really fully featured in a major role on this team.
We’ll have to see how the Seattle Kraken plan to utilize their early Christmas gift from the Nashville Predators, but I suspect we’ll see him get plenty of opportunities to prove the Predators screwed this up big time.