The Nashville Predators have placed Eeli Tolvanen on waivers, and tomorrow we’ll be reporting on who claimed him off the waiver wire.
Tolvanen has not had the season Preds fans were expecting or hoped for; he hasn’t been the high-scoring winger who was drafted in the first round. He’s also been playing fourth-line minutes with fourth-line linemates: not the kind of situation that would let any player shine. And, in spite of his offensive struggles and occasional poorly-timed penalty, he’s been an asset to the team:
Eeli Tolvanen on waivers is a mystery to me. I would claim him in a heartbeat. pic.twitter.com/QOARTWIDbW— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) December 11, 2022
It’s been clear that Tolvanen isn’t one of Head Coach John Hynes’s favorite players, and it’s possible that he will never develop into the kind of NHL player that he was as a pre-draft prospect.
However, the idea that 31 NHL teams are all going to pass on acquiring him, for free, stretches the imagination too far. He has a $1.45M cap hit through the end of next season and will be a restricted free agent when that contract expires. He tips play in his team’s favor, and he has scoring talent that could blossom in different circumstances.
It would be frustrating if the Preds had announced that Tolvanen had been traded for a low return—especially after such limited usage deflating his perceived value—but at least it would make it clear that Poile had shopped around, talked to other general managers, and taken steps to make sure the team at least got something back. Putting him on waivers is a very strange choice.
We’ll continue to provide analysis of what this means for the team and how it impacts the roster in the coming days.
Contract information from CapFriendly.com.