If the Colorado Avalanche fall to the #4 position in the 2017 NHL Draft, they might select speedy sniper Eeli Tolvanen.
The Colorado Avalanche are going to look to the 2017 NHL Draft to improve their roster both next season and for the future. The team has a 17.936% chance at the first-overall in the Draft Lottery, which takes place April 29, at 6 pm MDT.
Colorado is guaranteed to fall no lower than #4 in the Draft Lottery. If the Avalanche get the #1 or #2 pick, it’s almost guaranteed Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier will be skating in burgundy and blue next year. After that, it’s a toss-up.
Finnish forward Eeli Tolvanen is a highly rated prospect that I suspect the Colorado Avalanche are considering.
2016-17 Team: Sioux City Muskateers (USHL)
Date of Birth: April 22, 1999 (18 years old)
Wt: 179 lbs
Position: Left Wing
Eeli Tolvanen sounds like your stereotypical European player — fast and offensively gifted, needs a little work on defense. He’s been North American trained since the 2015-16 season, but he was born and raised in Finland.
Bill Placzek of My Draft Site calls Tolvanen a “natural offensive generator and scorer.” Placzek observes that these abilities come from quick bursts of skating and fast stick work. Indeed, Placzek considers that Eeli already has an NHL shot. He adds, “[Tolvanen] needs little space to place deadly accurate spots in the back of the net.”
Dennis Schellenberg of Hockey Prospectus opines, “[Tolvanen’s] biggest asset is without any doubt his deadly shot.” He adds:
"“He can make skilled plays when he possesses the puck and plays with good speed. Fires the puck with great velocity and accuracy.”"
Future Considerations is also all about Eeli Tolvanen’s shot, calling him an offensive threat with “an impressive accurate shot with an absolutely deadly release.” I find it interesting that the site also remarks that Tolvanen likes to position himself for one-timers and is adept at making plays. The site acknowledges, though, “although he does love to shoot.”
While Mike Morreale of NHL.com also praises Tolvanen’s shooting ability, he also praises the young Finn’s hockey sense and intensity.
Ben Kerr of Last Word on Sports concurs that Tolvanen has good ice vision and can be an effective playmaker, especially in the cycle game. As you can imagine with all that shooting, Eeli is an elite stick handler.
Future Considerations also considers that Eeli Tolvanen can protect the puck well. The site also likes his transitional speed.
Both Future Considerations and Ben Kerr think Eeli Tolvanen plays a good defensive game, though Kerr does think Eeli needs to bulk up to compete against larger forwards.
Central Scouting ranks Eeli Tolvanenas #8 among North American skaters. He’s scouted to go between #8 to #13.
Eeli Tolvanen in action:
Eeli Tolvanen and the Colorado Avalanche
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Boy Eeli Tolvanen sounds exciting, doesn’t he? I mean, all that speed and all that accurate shooting — hell, just shooting all the time would make him a boon for the Colorado Avalanche.
What’s more, Tolvanen has the hockey smarts to know defense must be part of his game as well. It sounds like he’s made that a priority and will continue to do so. Future Considerations also praised both his forechecking and his backchecking, both of which the Colorado Avalanche need.
There’s a part of me that thinks the Avalanche might take a chance on Tolvanen if they fall all the way to #4. (I expect they’d take Gabriel Vilardi with a #3 pick.) I see him complementing the team’s style better than Casey Mittelstadt, Cody Glass or Owen Tippett.
Here’s the rub — like Mittelstadt, Eeli Tolvanen is already wearing a promise ring. He’s going to be playing for Boston College next season. I think the team is going to want the player they pick at #4 to be able to transition into the AHL at least with hopes of calling him up next season.
MORE COLORADO AVALANCHE PROSPECTS:
If Colorado trades down or somehow ends up with a later first-round pick, I could see them taking a chance on Eeli Tolvanen. Like I said, they might be impressed enough with how his skill set fits into their vision for the team to draft him #4.
It really would be exciting to see Eeli Tolvanen in a Colorado Avalanche uniform. Plus, his nickname is already sorted out — ET.