Welcome back to Hockey Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2017 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Eeli Tolvanen.
Eeli Tolvanen is another player who really excelled at last year’s World U-17 tournament. He put up nine goals and 10 points in just five games for Finland. Tolvanen followed that up with 38 points in 49 games for Sioux City in the USHL in the USHL last year. He got even more international experience with seven goals and nine points as an underager at the 2016 Under 18s.
This season, Tolvanen scored 30 goals and 54 points in 51 games for Sioux City. He also impressed at the World Juniors with six points in six games, and was one of Finland’s best players. Tolvanen is committed to Boston College for the 2017-18 season. He could play for Finland again at this year’s Under 18 World Championships.
Eeli Tolvanen Scouting Report – 2017 NHL Draft #13
Right Wing/Left Wing — shoots Left
Born Apr 22 1999 — Nummela, Finland
Height 5’10” — Weight 170 lbs [178 cm / 77 kg]
Tolvanen is a very good skater. He has very good top-end speed. Tolvanen uses a quick first step and excellent acceleration to elude defenders and get himself open to fire a shot on goal. He can beat his man to the outside. When Tolvanen gets a step on his man, he can drop his shoulder and cut to the net. He can also make a number of quick cuts, and uses strong agility to beat his man one-on-one. Despite his small stature, Tolvanen is strong on the puck and has good balance on his skates. He is tough to knock over when he is battling for pucks along the boards.
Tolvanen is a pure sniper who scores goals in a variety of different ways. He reads the play extremely well, and gets himself into the right position to create a scoring chance. Tolvanen has an outstanding one-timer, with great power and accuracy. He also has a lightning quick release on his wrist shot. That wrist shot is heavy, and he is also very accurate. Tolvanen has the soft hands to make quick moves and beat defenders with his stick handling ability. Tolvanen’s snap shot is also deadly. He can fire that vast assortment of shots in stride. He can also bury rebounds and has the hand-eye coordination to get deflections in front of the net as well.
While he is known for his goal scoring, Tolvanen also has good vision and passing skills. He can be a playmaker both in the cycle game, and when coming down the wing with the puck. He can also use his strong stick handling, and changes of pace in his skating, to open up passing lanes and find an open teammate. His high level hockey IQ extends to his play making, as he finds teammates open and in good positions to generate a scoring chance.
Tolvanen has good defensive instincts for a 17-year-old. He is rarely caught out of position, and is more than willing to help out in his own end of the ice. He must improve his strength though. When trying to contain bigger forwards in the cycle, he can often be out muscled. One thing he does well though is transition to offense once he is able to create a turnover in the defensive end of the ice.
Projection and Comparison
Tolvanen has the ability to be a top six winger in the NHL. He will need to improve his strength and continue to work on becoming more well-rounded, but his ability to score goals is something that can not be taught. In terms of a stylistic, but not talent based, comparison Tolvanen plays the game like Phil Kessel of the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least at the offensive end of the ice.
The following is a compilation of highlights, assembled from Youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our board.