Philadelphia Flyers: Why They Should Trade Up for the Finnish Phenom

Mar 25, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux (28) against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 25, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux (28) against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Scoring phenom Eeli Tolvanen is projected to go anywhere from picks 5-10 in this year’s draft. Could we see Hextall’s ability to turn garbage into gold and add the Finnish phenom to the scoring inept Philadelphia Flyers’ roster?

It is no secret that the Philadelphia Flyers have a top-heavy offense. After the top two lines, you’re looking at a line of Weise- Filppula – Weal and Bellemare – Vecchione – and a combination of VandeVelde/Read/Raffle. Not to discredit Weal who finished off the 2016 campaign strong, but I could think of a couple other names who would add more to my team than he can.

With the addition of Tolvanen, Hakstol can bump Sean Couturier to the third line and pair him with Filppula and Weal. This would allow the  Philadelphia Flyers to have a lethal top nine unit while having one of the best crops of defenseman in the entire league. The past couple years have shown that teams can not win with a top-heavy offense. Teams like Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Tampa have all had success from their bottom six units that produced at a respectable rate.

The Finnish phenom, Eeli Tolvanen, is currently tearing through the USHL with the Sioux City Musketeers. He is 8th in the league with 54 points (30 G, 24 A) in 52 games. If he does not crack the NHL lineup in his first go around, which most don’t, he will go play for Boston College where he will continue his schooling and hockey career. He will have some big shoes to fill at BC where Jack Eichel just won the Hobey Baker award as a freshman before going to the Buffalo Sabers as the No. 2 overall pick.

The argument that the NCAA cannot produce gifted athletes, as well as the Canadian Juniors, is quickly losing ground. There are many predominate figures coming out of the NCAA that are faces of historic franchises such as Jonathan Toews, T.J. Oshie, Jack Eichel, and our own Philadelphia Flyer Shayne Gostisbehere. You can soon add this young man as well:

Philadelphia Flyers
Eeli Tolvanen thinks back to his home in Finland when the USHL dream began. He and his two brothers would play hockey together in their backyard. /

Name: Eeli Tolvanen

Hieght, wieght: 5’10” , 179 lbs.

Team: Sioux Musketeersteers (USHL)

  • Passing 5/5
  • Shooting 5/5
  • Defense 3/5
  • Skating 5/5
  • Poise 5/5

First of all, in a league that is in dire need of offense, Eeli Tolvanen can easily produce. His on-ice vision is hard to ignore as he is aware of everyone’s position on the ice. You can tell just by watching him that everything he does is effortless. There is just an aspect of his game that is unteachable. His ability to distribute the puck at his age is second to none.

Next, if there was a similarity between him and a current NHL skater, it would be the star of St. Louis, Vladimir Tarasenko. With a booming slap shot and a lethally accurate snapshot, he can most certainly net the puck from anywhere on the ice. His offensive prowess is undeniable and he is projected to be a 30 goal scorer in this league.

Much like Miro Heiskanen he has the speed that will benefit the tortoise-like offense the Philadelphia Flyers currently employ. He has the ability to beat you to the outside and use his frame to protect the puck, or he can split the defenders right down the middle with his speed and quick hands. He is an offensive talent that you cannot pass up.

Also, while he was participating in the U18 tournament with Finland Eeli often dealt with double teams from Russia. Tolvanen managed to score three goals against the second-seeded Russian team. In an elimination game, he was calm and collected. If he gets drafted by the Flyers look for him to form a dangerous duo with Travis Konecny.

Finally, onto his defense. This is where the doubts come in. In his tape against Russia you see a kid who isn’t afraid to be aggressive and forecheck, but quite often he left his team down a man in their own zone as he overextends himself. When he connects on the forecheck his stick is good enough to knock the puck away, but again, that is only when he connects.

Next: What the Flyers should do with the 12th pick

There is a lot of controversy surrounding coach Dave Hakstol and the team general manager Ron Hextall have constructed so far. Some are calling for captain Claude Giroux to be stripped of his C, others are calling for both Giroux and Voracek to be traded. If I’m Ron Hextall I’m fielding calls on both of my 8 million a year “superstars” who have been having a hard time producing.