Eeli Tolvanen warms up with Jokerit – 2017-18
This week, we’ll dig into some early returns on some prospects plying their trade in European men’s leagues and the CHL.
Despite the NHL preseason just getting under way, the Kontinental Hockey League is already in full swing. Most clubs have played 10-13 games and we’re starting to witness a separation of the talent that holds a firm grasp on the scoring leaderboard.
Sure, the top 10 is a who’s who of former NHL stars and those who couldn’t quite cut it. But as you slide down the list, two names jump out: Eeli Tolvanen and Kirill Kaprizov.
Kaprizov is becoming something of a known entity at this point. He broke Evegni Kuznetsov’s U20 points’ record last year when he recorded 42 points in 49 contests and then quickly broke the hearts of Minnasota Wild fans and fantasy hockey managers the world over when he decided to sign a two-year extension – on top of his last current year, that will keep him from stepping onto NHL ice until 2020. Despite that, he remains one of the most tantalizing fantasy prospects out there.
His record might be in a bit of jeopardy though…
Tolvanen has had a whirlwind past five months. The Finnish sniper was scheduled to join the Boston College Eagles this fall and navigate his way through studies and an NCAA schedule. However, a surprising realization came out just before the NHL Entry draft which prohibited him from attending that school due to his grades not being up to snuff.
Whether or not that contributed to his dropping all the way to 30th overall and into the laps of the Nashville Predators, we’ll never know, but he was a consistent top 10-15 player on many main lists – my list included, and when it comes to pure offensive upside and goal scoring ability he’s right near the top of the heap for the 2017 class.
Tolvanen has thrived thus far playing against men with Jokerit. Through 10 contests, the 18-year-old winger has four goals and nine points to go along with 40(!) shots on goal. As you can see by the graphic above, it’s wildly difficult for a teenager to produce even moderate totals in this league and Tolvanen is not only finding the scoresheet, but is creating offense on nearly every shift.
While the goal-scoring as dried up a tad – just one goal in his last nine games after recording a hat trick in his KHL debut, his four shots per contest sits as the fourth best mark in the league and should be garnering the attention of every poolie heading into their drafts over the next two weeks.
Eeli Tolvanen Hat Trick vs. Dynamo Minsk
While the season is still in its