Nashville, Tenn. (August 30, 2021) - Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the team has signed forward Eeli Tolvanen to a three-year, $4.35 million contract.
Tolvanen, 22 (4/22/99), posted 22 points (11g-11a) in 40 games for the Predators in 2020-21, his first full NHL season. His 11 goals were the fourth-most on the Predators and were the most scored by a Predators rookie since Filip Forsberg netted 26 in 2014-15. The 5-foot-10, 191-pound forward also challenged two rookie franchise records: His six power-play goals (which led the Predators) were tied for the second-most and his six-game point streak (3g-6a) from March 21-30 was tied for the second-longest. Among NHL rookies, Tolvanen was tied for first in game-winning goals (4); tied for second in power-play goals; third in power-play points (12); 10th in goals; and 12th in points (22), helping him earn votes for the Calder Trophy. Tolvanen, who also tallied three multi-point games, including his first career three-point effort on March 21 at Dallas (1g-2a), skated in four of Nashville's Stanley Cup Playoff games vs. Carolina.
Originally drafted by the Predators in the first round (30th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, Tolvanen has played in 47 career NHL contests, seven of which came prior to the 2020-21 campaign. After playing in his first NHL game at 18 years, 343 days - the fifth-youngest player to debut with the Predators - on March 31, 2018 vs. Buffalo, Tolvanen then appeared in two more games in 2017-18 and four in 2018-19, where he recorded his first two career NHL points (1g-1a) on Dec. 1, 2018 vs. Chicago. He is also a veteran of 121 career AHL contests, all coming with the Milwaukee Admirals from 2018-20, tallying 36 goals and 71 points. His 21 goals and 36 points in 2019-20 ranked second and tied for fifth, respectively, on Milwaukee; as a rookie in 2018-19, he led all Admirals first-year skaters in goals (15), assists (20) and points (35).
Before signing with the Predators on March 29, 2018, Tolvanen played for Jokerit of the KHL, posting 36 points (19g-17a) in 49 games during the 2017-18 campaign and establishing league records for goals (19) and assists (17) in a season by a teenager. That season, he also earned a nod to the 2018 KHL All-Star Game and claimed KHL Rookie of the Month honors in September and October. Internationally, the Vihti, Finland, native won a gold medal at the 2016 U-18 World Championship and the 2019 World Junior Championship; he also skated for his country in two other World Juniors (2017 and 2018) and the 2018 World Championship. Tolvanen also represented Finland at the 2018 Winter Olympics and had nine points (3g-6a) in five games, the second-highest point total by a U-19 player in Olympic history.