Eeli Tolvanen spent the whole season in the top 10 of just about every draft ranking. As the best finisher in this draft class, his scoring potential is through the roof. However, when Bob McKenzie surveyed ten NHL scouts last month, Tolvanen did not rank in the top 15.
If Tolvanen is available at #17, the Leafs should take him in a heartbeat. Throw the team’s needs out the window at that point, and take the best player available. We have seen undersized forwards fall in the past, and this year could be no exception.
Tolvanen stands 5’10”, and he brings the ability to play either wing. He spent this season playing for the Sioux City Muskateers of the USHL, and he led the league in shots on goal by a country mile. He’s committed to Boston College for next season.
A Brief Scouting Report on Tolvanen
Tolvanen possesses the best shot in the draft, and he shoots often. Opposing teams must make him a focus on the power play, and his teammates usually try to set him up as much as possible. He constantly scores from a distance, and his release is incredibly quick.
The knock on Tolvanen is largely his off the puck play, as he’s undersized and not overly physical. While quick, he will not be the first player over the boards to kill a penalty. He’s certainly more of a scorer than a playmaker, as it makes sense for him to use his shot at every opportunity.
He uses his quickness to get himself into scoring positions, and then the puck is typically in the back of the net before you know it. It is tough to compare his shot with Steven Stamkos, Alexander Ovechkin, Patrick Laine, and Vladimir Tarasenko, but Tolvanen is certainly in the next tier in this regard.
His most dominant performance came at the U-17 tournament a year ago, as he scored nine goals for Finland in just five games. He followed this up with seven goals in seven games in last year’s U-18 tournament, before leading Finland in scoring with six points in six games in the World Juniors. Clearly, he boasts a long history of success playing against his age group.
Tolvanen shares some pretty good company overall when you look at his shot & assist rate. My concern with him: can he do more than score. pic.twitter.com/p5kDIujBIU— Zac Urback (@Zac_Urback) May 4, 2017
D-year USHLers to Avg min 1 Point/GP 4 SOG/GP: Schwartz, Bellows, Connor, Larkin, Boeser, Keller, Tolvanen...Pacioretty & Okposo just missed— Zac Urback (@Zac_Urback) April 16, 2017
Watching Tolvanen In Action
Power play One-Timer:
This is Tolvanen’s office. He will certainly be a power play specialist, and opposing teams will have to make him a priority. His shot is just too dangerous.
Picking A Corner:
Elusiveness + Backhand Finish:
The Big Picture
Tolvanen deserves to be a top 10 player in this draft class, and could be a steal for the Leafs if he falls within their range. If he is still available somewhere between #13-16, I would consider trading up. His scoring ability is just so impressive, and it is easy to make room for a player of this calibre.
The team that lands Tolvanen should look to pair him with linemates who can drive possession, and he would also be a great fit with a strong playmaker. Adding another small winger is not exactly ideal, but Tolvanen represents one of the best goal scorers in this draft class. Look out for him on draft day, as this is the most intriguing player who carries the potential to fall in the draft. Given his shot, he could develop into a major offensive weapon at the NHL level.