This morning, the Predators announced cuts to the team's roster that brought its total population down to 32.
None of the nine spots still up for grabs will be granted to Eeli Tolvanen.
And thus continues the disappointing saga of Tolvanen hype. Tolvanen has played in three of the four Preds' preseason games so far, recording just one goal in the process and showing off his new sweater number (#28). David Polie made the executive decision to send him, Rem Pitlick, Yakov Trenin, Tanner Jeannot, and a few others back to Milwaukee to get more AHL reps in. Of the group Poile cut, though, it is Tolvanen who bears the most expectations from the organization.
The preseason is a perfect time for a prospect like Tolvanen to simulate the speed, skill, and physicality that come with playing in the NHL. You would think that given the opportunity, Tolvanen would have been firing on all cylinders to try and make the roster and play his first full season in Nashville. To that end, all he's shown in the preseason is that his attitude is still too passive to be rewarded a roster spot.
I wrote a piece on Tolvanen that went into more specifics on his game about a month ago ("Getting Real-i About Eeli"), and one of the main frustrations with him is that his potential is so obvious. He has the offensive skills to be a force to reckon with on the power play and a one-timer that can rock a defense to its core. But Tolvanen just can't seem to put it all together and make his game a well-oiled machine.
Tolvanen's defensive game is another drawback that Poile likely observes. Though he has broken even with a 0 rating thus far in the preseason, his AHL stats from last year are shaky. His -8 on-ice rating is certainly not brag-worthy, but he had a chance to redeem himself during these games. Suffice it to say, he did not.
Comparably, Pitlick and Trenin have appeared on the score sheet much more than Tolvanen has.
Pitlick has also played in three games but recorded two goals and a 50 percent shot conversion rate. He also scored the game-winning goal in overtime last night against the Lightning (seen above).
Trenin has played in just two games with one point to show for, but an impressive +3 rating. However, Trenin is averaging just over nine minutes of ice time per game and has already sat for 15 penalty minutes.
It might not be too crazy of a thought to project Pitlick and Trenin appearing on the ice for the Preds sooner than Tolvanen does this season.