5. Eeli Tolvanen
2016-17 Team: Sioux City Muskateers (USHL)
Date of Birth: April 22, 1999 (18 years old)
Wt: 179 lbs
Position: Left Wing
Left wing Eeli Tolvanen is something of an outlier , but I’d be surprised if he weren’t on the Colorado Avalanche’s radar. He’s scouted in every report as having top-end speed. But he’s not just known for being fast — he’s also a dynamic skater. Ben Kerr of Last word on Sports observes:
"“He can also make a number of quick cuts, and uses strong agility to beat his man one-on-one.”"
Tolvanen is known for having high-end stick skills — Kerr calls him a “pure sniper who scores goals in a variety of different ways.” Future Considerations describes Tolvanen as a player who “likes to shoot and has an impressive accurate shot with an absolutely deadly release.” He’s also known for being good on both the forecheck and the backcheck.
Eeli Tolvanen is scouted to go as high as #4 or drop as low as #17, which is where ISS Hockey has him ranked. He’s #8 for North American skaters.
In my draft profile of Tolvanen, I pointed out that he seems like a very exciting offensive prospect for the Colorado Avalanche. I’d love to see his fast skating and elite stick skills on a line with MacKinnon or Duchene — or even our ferocious little forechecker, Tyson Jost.
Since the Avalanche have been clear about wanting speed and elite skill, I think he’s on their radar. However, he’s ranked lower than some other prospects, so he may not be the number-one player the team wants. What’s more, he’s already promised to play for Boston College next season. Whether a player may be available immediately could be a factor for the Avs.