If you had any last confidence in David Poile and this organization’s approach, it is probably gone now. In what could be described as a stunning move at best, the Nashville Predators waived Eeli Tolvanen this past Sunday.
The general sentiment was that there was no way he would clear waivers, and that proved to be correct as he was claimed by the Seattle Kraken on Monday. The once highly touted sniper has officially gone down as a bust for the team, and it is hard to blame him honestly.
Even though Tolvanen did not meet expectations, the Predators completely botched his development and never gave him a chance to meet those once high expectations. Unfortunately, it is emblematic of the message they are sending to the whole team.
Nashville Predators Are Holding Back Veterans and Youth With Current Approach
Tolvanen’s time with the Predators was a weird one, as he started out quite well, but went cold down the stretch in 2021 and seemingly never recovered. He came into this year absolutely needing to improve after a disappointing 2021-2022 season, but flamed out even harder and is now no longer a member of the team.
What is particularly strange is that he really was not that bad in the few games that he played, at least relative to the opportunity he was given. He actually scored in the first game back after being scratched, yet only averaged just under 13 minutes of ice time this year, and oftentimes without optimal line-mates.
Tolvanen’s time with the Predators was full of switches from line to line, being pulled from the lineup and put back in, and really being given no chance to get into a rhythm. And unfortunately, he is just one part of what is wrong with this organization.
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Cody Glass has been going through the same thing, as he has been on multiple lines and even scratched on multiple occasions this season. Thankfully, he has been in the lineup a lot more recently when available (he missed a few games recently with an injury), but has still bounced from line to line and is averaging just 11:25 of ice time per game.
And look at Philip Tomasino, who was sent to Milwaukee after playing 76 games last year. He is still there, so there is obviously something the Predators saw that they did not like, but either way it is another case of player development going in the wrong direction.
The craziest part is that the three players just mentioned looked pretty nice in the few times that they were together, yet did not get a chance and will never get another to build on that chemistry. Even though the promising youngsters have been the most affected by this, the whole team has been affected by bad decisions with personnel and overall team management.
How many times has John Hynes changed the lines throughout the year? There have been so many as the team has struggled to meet expectations, and none of the changes have helped because there is no forward in the lineup who has had a great year.
And how much better off would the team be if Tomasino was playing and getting more comfortable in the top six, as most of us thought would happen? In that case he and Juuso Parssinen could reasonably rotate top six minutes and give the team better options throughout all four lines.
Sadly, none of this is anything new for the Predators. Player development and line consistency and chemistry have been issues for the team for years, and no matter how much we talk about things such as needing more talent, needing better player performance, needing a rebuild, or switching the lines, does any of this change until the team’s approach changes?
The players take the fall for failing to execute a system that is near impossible to sustain in today’s NHL, and especially in the case of the youngsters, they get an unfairly small margin for error. Of course, there could be a reason for Tolvanen’s waiving that we do not know, but based on the team’s track record and tendencies, it is on them until proven otherwise.
The game is passing David Poile and John Hynes by day by day, and this team will not go anywhere until those two adapt or are relieved of their duties. Unfortunately for them, their mediocre football counterparts made a significant statement and signaled that they are about to make big changes, which makes the Predators look even worse for doing nothing to get ahead of the eight-ball.