Prospect Need to Know: Tolvanen is still torching the KHL

The hot start was no mirage for the Nashville pick. We’ve got the latest on him, plus a trade in Quebec that has big implications and more

The big news around the prospect world this week was the trade that sent Columbus Blue Jackets pick Vitalii Abramov from Gatineau to Victoriaville in the Quebec League. Abramov looks like he’s on the cusp of the NHL and will undoubtedly be one to watch for Russia at the world juniors this year, so getting the chance to make a playoff run with the Tigres will be good for him. The World Jr. A Challenge is also coming up soon and it’s a great event to check out some underrated talents both drafted and eligible for the draft – Cale Makar made a splash at the tourney last season, for example. Let’s take a look at who else is hot right now:


Eeli Tolvanen, RW, Jokerit (KHL) – A four-point outburst against Neftekhimik last week helped Tolvanen get up to point-per-game status and cement him in the top-10 of KHL scorers. That’s simply incredible for a teenager and with 29 games under his belt, the Nashville first-rounder is still nailing goalies with his quick release and ability to create. Heck, he’s probably going to be on the Finnish Olympic team. NHL arrival: 2018-19


Jonny Tychonick, D, Penticton Vees (BCHL) – One of the top Jr. A players up for the 2018 draft, Tychonick is a puckmoving defenseman who just got named to Canada West’s tryout camp for the World Jr. A Challenge. Back in Penticton, the youngster has eight points in his past three games. He’s a University of North Dakota commit. NHL arrival: 2021-22


Maxime Comtois, LW, Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL) – Comtois has a new running mate in Abramov and in their first game together, each had two points. Comtois, the Anaheim Ducks second-rounder, has been hot of late with four points in his past three games and his detailed game goes well beyond pure offense. NHL arrival: 2019-20


Garret Sparks, G, Toronto Marlies (AHL) – Though his initial run with the Maple Leafs was filled with ups and downs in 2016-17, Sparks has really found himself as a goaltender this year in the ‘A.’ The big, flexible goaltender has been lights-out so far, with really only one average game in 10 decisions. Otherwise, his .947 save percentage and 1.51 goals-against average both lead the league. NHL arrival: 2018-19


Ty Ronning, RW, Vancouver Giants (WHL) – The Giants needed their veterans to be good this season and Ronning has delivered. The New York Rangers pick has 18 points during a 10-game streak and Vancouver is hanging in a playoff position. The smallish sniper has been playing with another Blueshirts selection in Brad Morrison. NHL arrival: 2019-20

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Clayton Phillips, D, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) – Team USA announced its roster for the WJAC and Phillips is one of several NHL picks to make the cut. The Pittsburgh Penguins selection is a smart and solid puckmover who has eight points in 12 games so far for the Jacks. He’s a University of Minnesota commit. NHL arrival: 2021-22


Cliff Pu, C, London Knights (OHL) – After an uncharacteristically horrible start, the London Knights have now won seven of their past 10 games and Pu has been a big factor. The OHL player of the week with 12 points in four games, Pu is a Buffalo Sabres pick with a nice all-around game. He’ll be gunning for a world junior spot with Canada, too. NHL arrival: 2019-20


Jakub Skarek, G, Dukla Jihlava (Cze.) – A big netminder with mental toughness beyond his years, Skarek will be a key player for the Czechs at this year’s world juniors. Back home, he is already the starter for Jihlava and Skarek is keeping his head above water with a 2.48 goals-against average while playing for the last-place squad. He’s a 2018 draft prospect. NHL arrival: 2020-21


Tanner Laczynski, RW, Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten) – The sophomore forward is putting up nice numbers, with four points in his past three games. Laczynski brings a great combination of grit, physicality and skill to the lineup and that will certainly be welcome in the Philadelphia Flyers organization that drafted him. NHL arrival: 2020-21


Ian Mitchell, D, University of Denver Pioneers (NCHC) – The defending champs took on North Dakota in a marquee showdown on the weekend and Mitchell made his mark with three points in the two games (each school won once). As coach Jim Montgomery noted on our podcast last week, the freshman Chicago Blackhawks pick combines skill and work ethic with excellent results and Mitchell now has 11 points in his first 12 games. NHL arrival: 2020-21