2016-17 Team: Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)
Date of Birth: April 22, 1999
Place of Birth: Vithi, Finland
Ht: 5′ 10″ Wt: 179 lbs
Position: Left Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2017 first-year eligible
- THW: 10
- Craig Button: 13
- Future Considerations: 8
- ISS: 12
- Hockey Prophets: 8
- McKeen’s Hockey: 9
- The Draft Analyst: 4
- HockeyProspects.com: 12
Joining a large contingent of probable first-round Finnish players in the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Eeli Tolvanen just completed his second season in North America. Skating with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers, Tolvanen’s shot volume has been impressive over the last two years. During the 2015-16 season, Tolvanen fired 176 shots on goal, and in this last season, he led the USHL with 246.
Elite 2017 draft prospect Eeli Tolvanen of Sioux City is your USHL forward of the week with four points in two games. Boston College commit
— Ryan Kennedy (@THNRyanKennedy) October 3, 2016
In international play, Tolvanen was a force for Team Finland’s U20 effort at the World Junior Championship, recording six points in six games. The disappointing Suomi side had to stave off relegation, but Tolvanen’s effort level was there despite the poor overall effort from 2016’s gold-medal country.
With the deadly release and accuracy Tolvanen has with his shot, the volume of rubber he is firing at net is important. He has a full repertoire in his arsenal and changes the angle of his attack quickly. Coupled with a lightning release and the swagger of a natural shooter, there is no doubt what Tolvanen is trying to do when he gets the puck on his stick. He is fine going into high-traffic areas on the ice but knocking in rebounds in front of the net is not his specialty. Tolvanen is a sniper in the purest sense.
Tolvanen has the shifty skating that you want to see from smaller players. He is slippery and can skate around a defender with a quick burst or simply worm his way through, under or around larger players. His nose for the net keeps him largely a north/south skater and
The issue with Tolvanen is the lack of size which will be held against him. Forwards that are 6-foot-5 have to prove the cannot play in the NHL whereas 5-foot-10 wingers have to prove they can. Tolvanen is not overly physical in the sense he can dominate a defender in the corners, but he has an attitude that has been both good and bad. But when taking on much larger players, possessing a chip on your shoulder is an added bonus.
One area that Tolvanen will need to improve is his overall defensive play. His interest in the defensive zone can come and go. Furthermore, his tenacious offensive skating does not always translate to his backchecking. That said, Tolvanen has exceptional offensive upside among his peers in this draft class.
Eeli Tolvanen – NHL Draft Projection
Tolvanen is undoubtedly a first-round talent and depending on who you talk to, should go in that great conflux of forwards in the middle of the first round.
“Tolvanen, who has a wicked release and “all the moves on the joystick,” as one scout delightfully put it to me this season, is a top prospect for the 2017 NHL draft. He recently committed to Boston College, following in the NCAA footsteps of brother Atte Tolvanen. Atte is a goaltender who just completed his freshman season with Northern Michigan.” – Ryan Kennedy
“Tolvanen can shoot in stride, with speed on a rush, or unleash and Ovechkin-like one-timer off the half boards on the power play and bang in some dirty goals from the crease as well. He skates well and has good vision to read and react to the play well.” – Peter Harling
- Elusive skating ability
- Bonafide sniper
- Offensive instincts
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Needs to add mass
- Defensive attention to detail
Tolvanen has a pro-ready shot. However, his small stature and an offensively-minded game could lead to him be a top-six or bust player in the professional ranks.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 4.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 9/10, Defense –4/10
Awards/Achievements in 2016-17
USHL First All-Star Team