The Nashville Predators have more to be excited about when it comes to Eeli Tolvanen. The 30th overall draft pick in the most recent 2017 NHL Entry Draft picked up a hat trick in his KHL debut with Jokerit Helsinki. He is the youngest player in KHL history to ever record a hat trick, let alone in his first game.
— KHL (@khl_eng) August 23, 2017
The Preds have always been known for chiming up NHL goaltenders and elite defencemen, but now it looks like they’ve found a way to acquire future scorers through the draft.
Tolvanen had plans to play for Boston College in the upcoming season, but he, unfortunately, did not meet the criteria. Instead, he took his talents back to his home country to suit up for their only KHL team.
Tolvanen spent the past two seasons playing for the Sioux City Musketeers in the USHL, where he produced 30 goals and 54 points in 52 games. He entered the draft as the eighth ranked skater for North American players.
The Hockey News believes the best case scenario for Eeli Tolvanen is to become the second coming of Nikita Kucherov. It’s certain Preds fans are licking their lips after reading that sentence.
While it’s fun to get excited early, it should be noted to pump one’s breaks when discussing a player one game into a season. After all, Fabian Brunnstrom scored a hat trick in his NHL debut, only to fizzle out down the stretch and right out of the league four seasons later.
Tolvanen has put himself on the map early on in the KHL season, and he will be a player to keep an eye on throughout the year. If he continues to impress, he could find his way to Music City sooner than we all thought.
POTRATZ HOCKEY PODCAST
I will be discussing the Nashville Predators on August 23, 2017 with Justin Bradford from Penalty Box Radio.