Vancouver Canucks 2017 NHL Draft Profile: LW Eeli Tolvanen

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks are preparing for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft — and so are we.

Once again the Vancouver Canucks failed to secure a spot in the NHL playoffs. So, instead of competing for the Stanley Cup, Canucks GM Jim Benning and his staff will use the upcoming months to prepare next season’s roster. Now that the organisation is officially in a ‘transition period’, the 2017 NHL Entry Draft will be of utmost importance.

A four-game winning streak to start the 2016-17 season gave fans hope for the playoffs. But — blame the coach, the roster, injuries or anything else — unfortunately, the team was unable to play competitively for an entire season. With that, they are guaranteed another high draft pick this year.

Here at The Canuck Way, we will do our best to prepare you for the upcoming draft by profiling as many eligible players as we possibly can. Keep in mind that we are not saying these are players the Canucks are targeting. Instead, these are players that we think the Canucks could or should have interest in.

This year’s draft seems wide-open, with no real consensus in any of the seven rounds. So, it will certainly be interesting to see who will put on a Vancouver Canucks jersey come June.

Today, let’s take a look at Finnish left wing Eeli Tolvanen!

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Name: Eeli Tolvanen

Position: Left wing

Shoots: Left

Birthdate: 1999-04-22

Height, weight: 5’10”, 179 lbs

Team, league: Sioux City Musketeers, USHL

Stats (from 








#12 by
#13 by ISS Hockey
#8 by Future Considerations
#9 by McKeen’s Hockey
#8 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 2/5, 4.5/5

NHL-potential: First-line winger

Draft Range: Top 10

Scouting report

"This goal-scoring winger is a real offensive threat…plays with speed, intensity and skills…elusive with the puck on his stick…likes to shoot and has an impressive accurate shot with an absolutely deadly release…positions himself correctly to be open for the one-timer…a smooth, agile skater and covers ground at high rates of speed in transition…quick thinker who doesn’t stop moving his feet…good speed when carrying the puck and can accelerate quickly…skilled stickhandler who protects the puck well…an underrated playmaking forward that is a dual threat in the offensive zone, although he does love to shoot…aware of defensive-zone puck movement and positions himself responsibly…hunter on the forecheck who looks to turn over pucks and quickly switch to offense…effective on the backcheck as he looks to break up scoring chances…does not avoid physical play, but does not initiate it either…will become a NHL goal-scorer and difference-maker. (Future Considerations)"


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A pure sniper, Tolvanen assaults the enemy net with a barrage of shots. It shows in his numbers: he scored 30 goals in 54 games in the USHL this year.

His shot, which is fast and accurate, is impressive enough. But Tolvanen has more skills at his disposal. He is powerful skater, and can unleash his shot in full flight. He also has great vision and hockey IQ.

The general manager of the Sioux City Muskateers, Mark LeRose, also praised his work ethic on defense. Though primarily an offensive player, Tolvanen uses his skating ability and hockey sense on the backcheck. And if the other team should give the puck away in the neutral zone, Tolvanen can make them pay the price.

Despite being a smaller player, he was worked hard to get stronger. Tolvanen does not shy away from taking hits, and occasionally he throws them himself. All told, he is an electric player who lives to score goals.


As with all players under six feet, Tolvanen’s size will be called into question. Can he overcome being smaller than most of his competition, and continue to pile up points in the big league? Tolvanen himself decided that his size might hold him back in Liiga, the top Finnish league (where Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi played in their draft seasons), so instead he came to North America to play in the USHL. As his point totals with Sioux City show, it was a good decision.

Post-draft he will play at least a year of college hockey, so there will be plenty of time to add muscle before making the jump to pro.

As a shoot-first player, he will also need to learn to use his teammates effectively. While he will like never become a playmaker or elite passer, it will give him more options on offense. In the meantime, Tolvanen is best paired with a skilled passer who can get him the puck.

Final Thoughts

Eeli Tolvanen will play the 2017-18 season at Boston College, where Canucks prospects Adam Gaudette and Thatcher Demko also played. Brock Boeser, Troy Stecher and Ben Hutton also developed in the NCAA, so there is a lot of precedent for Vancouver taking players who choose the college route.

Like all the top picks who are not Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier, projecting where Tolvanen will go is tricky. At the end of the day, it looks like there are enough talented players above him that he will go between eight and 12.

Next: All 2017 Draft Profiles

That puts him just outside the Vancouver Canucks’ radar. And since they desperately need a center or top defenseman, they will probably take a pass on a highly talented scoring winger.