Unfortunately, just 13 games into the 2022-23 season, the Nashville Predators have already reached a point where the trade of some players should begin to be explored, including Eeli Tolvanen.
It’s starting to look like a bad pick from the Predators failing to develop a dynamic offensive forward who has a high ceiling, but isn’t being used effectively enough to justify keeping him on the roster.
Inside the Nashville Predators’ latest nasty loss at the hands of a burgeoning Seattle Kraken team, Tolvanen was a healthy scratch. He has played just eight out of 13 games this season, registering one goal and two assists.
I saw this scenario coming up before the start of the season that there was a high probability that Tolvanen wouldn’t be around much longer. You better get something out of him, even if it’s minor, while he’s still young and has a promising ceiling that could attract another team.
Nashville Predators should get what they can out of Tolvanen
The Predators continue to roll out the tough roster with players like Zach Sanford, Michael McCarron and Cole Smith. Players that just aren’t going to produce much offensive pop for you, and it also doesn’t help that the top end of the formation isn’t producing at the level you need.
There are teams that would love to take on a project like Tolvanen. He has just one year left on his contract after 2022-23, and he’s up for a modest AAV of $1.45 million. Pocket change for a team that could see potential in him.
That said, it’s obvious the Predators shouldn’t just give Tolvanen away. You’re still looking for the right price before parting ways with your former 2017 first-round pick who had such high hopes of becoming a power-play specialist and top scorer.
It was supposed to be the year for Tolvanen to put everything in place for the Predators and cement a long-term future here in Nashville. For different factors, not all controlled by him, it just doesn’t work.
I would jump to a high draft pick even as far as a third round for Tolvanen. It looks like the Predators can’t put off a rebuild any longer if this season continues down the same dark road, so why not grab as much draft capital as possible before the bottom drops?
If head coach John Hynes allowed Tolvanen to work on it and not bench him regularly, then I might be willing to put the brakes on his trade so soon. However, while he’s nothing more than a rotational player getting less than 14 minutes of ice time per game, he’s just wasting away with this organization.
Another good reason to consider trading Tolvanen is that you have a prospect pool full of talent that you will need to make room for if indeed this season goes completely off the rails. Strikers like Egor Afanasyev, Juuso Pärssinen, Tommy Novak and Markus Nurmi are all young players you can explore if the season goes off the rails.
Even if Tolvanen is not traded, I would expect one of the aforementioned prospects to be reviewed very soon and more roster changes to occur.
Despite the current sad state of the team, the future remains bright with strong draft classes in recent years, including Joakim Kemell’s 2022 draft. This season has been GM David Poile’s last fight for something special to happen, and it’s been anything but so far.
This strange evolution of the bench of young offensively gifted players does not stop at Tolvanen. Cody Glass is also benched and was against the Kraken, and Philip Tomasino was sent to the Milwaukee Admirals and has yet to play an NHL game in 2022-23 despite posting 76 games and 32 points in his campaign. of rookie.
Just a weird storyline all around, and Tolvanen makes the most sense among young forwards as someone to trade if the right suitor comes along. It would be another failure of this organization with a drafted forward who had a lot of promise ahead.
The trade deadline isn’t until March 3, 2023, so there’s plenty of time for this to take a clearer shape. If the Nashville Predators become sellers, then Tolvanen is at the top of my list to part ways, followed by Dante Fabbro on the defensive end.
The writing is on the wall that the Nashville Predators and Tolvanen should part ways in the best interests of both parties involved.