I know, I know: We’ve been through this song and dance before. But good news was tweeted out this morning by Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News, and it sounds pretty legit:
Bad news, Oshawa fans: Eeli Tolvanen plans on returning to USHL Sioux City, then on to Boston College after that— Ryan Kennedy (@THNRyanKennedy) July 5, 2016
Eeli Tolvanen, committed to Boston College for the fall of 2017, is currently projected as a very high pick in next year’s NHL Draft. He’s in the conversation for #1 overall, with a recent TSN projection showing him #2 overall. He’s most assuredly the most highly touted prospect committed to an NCAA program for 2017.
Tolvanen’s decision to play in the USHL again this season bodes will for his likelihood of coming to BC. He was drafted by the Oshawa Generals in this year’s OHL Import Draft and would be eligible to play for them this season, but he’s passing on the opportunity right now to remain in the USHL and keep his NCAA eligibility.
As a 16 year old, Tolvanen put up 38 points (17 G, 21 A) for Sioux City this past season. Before arriving at Sioux City, Tolvanen came up through the Espoo Blues system, where he put up eye-popping numbers (39-45--84) as a 15 year old on the Blues U18 team. He has experience at the World Under-18 and Under-17 levels for Finland, and will almost undoubtedly feature for Finland at this year's World Junior title.
Another wrinkle that bodes well for BC’s chances of having Tolvanen in the fold for at least one year: by not going to the OHL and playing college hockey next year as an 18 year old, Tolvanen would be theoretically eligible to go straight in to the AHL at the end of his freshman season or at the start of 2018-19. If he plays in the Canadian Hockey League, he’d have to either go to the NHL or play in the CHL through 2018/19.
Either way, fingers crossed: Tolvanen would replenish BC’s stock of super-elite forward talent, a stock that might be just about diminished at the end of next season depending on what happens with Colin White and Zach Sanford.