William Nylander
Image: Rogle BK

William Nylander

Hometown:

Calgary Alberta

Currently Playing In:

Europe

Birthday:

1996-05-01

Position:

C

Eligible for draft:

2014

Shoots:

Right

Drafted:

2014

Height:

5-11

Acquired:

1st round (8th overall), 2014

Weight:

169 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • C

History

2010-11: William Nylander returned to America from Sweden and played for the Chicago Mission U14 bantam team that reached the USA Hockey championship game. In 29 regular season games he scored 34 goals with 27 assists and had 8 penalty minutes. Nylander was the second-leading scorer for Chicago Mission at the Tier 1 National Championship behind Seamus Malone — scoring 5 goals with 4 assists in six games. Chicago Mission lost to Belle Tire of Detroit, 6-5, in the championship game.

2011-12: Nylander moved back to Sweden with his family after his father, Michael Nylander, a former Washington Capital, signed a contract to play in Switzerland. William Nylander played for the Sodertalje and SDE HF junior teams and skated for Stockholm 1 in the TV-Pucken national tournament for high school players. He appeared in 12 U20 games for Sodertalje (including four playoff games) and scored 1 goal with 8 assists; finishing -9 with 4 penalty minutes. In 26 U18 games split between SDE and Sodertalje he scored 19 goals with 19 assists and was +14 with 16 penalty minutes. In eight TV-Pucken games for bronze medal-winning Stockholm 1 he scored 7 goals with 10 assists and was +15 with 14 penalty minutes.

2012-13: Nylander made his pro hockey debut in Sweden as a 16-year-old — skating for Sodertalje in Sweden’s second league (Allsvenskan) — and was the leading scorer for the club’s U20 team. He represented Sweden in a pair of international tournaments – returning to North America to play in the 2013 U17 World Hockey Challenge and concluding the season playing in the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship. Nylander scored 4 goals with 2 assists and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes in eight Allsvenskan regular season games and had a chance to skate on a line with his father at times. Sodertalje finished second but failed to earn a spot in the SHL after finishing sixth in the Kval Series playoffs. Nylander scored 2 goals with 1 assist and was -4 with 4 penalty minutes in 10 Kval games. In 27 games with the Sodertalje U20 team he scored 15 goals with 28 assists and was +14 with 14 penalty minutes. He scored 2 goals with 8 assists in six games as Sweden captured the gold medal in the WHC. Sweden’s U18 team did not fare as well; finishing fifth in Sochi. Nylander scored 2 goals with 1 assist and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes in five games at the U18 WJC.

2013-14: Nylander represented Sweden in the 2013 U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August before returning to Sweden. Signed to an SHL contract by MODO, he was loaned to Rogle and began the season in Allsvenskan. In four games at the Ivan Hlinka tournament he scored 4 goals with 2 assists and was +1 with 4 penalty minutes.

 

Talent Analysis

Nylander's strengths are many. He is incredibly strong at pivoting with speed, both with and without the puck. Can turn on a dime, but tends to curl at full speed while making very fluid crossovers so as to generate speed through primarily the neutral zone. Looks like an effortless skater at times. Very strong puckhandler who rarely loses the puck on his own accord. Can dangle and deke out opponents with ease and uses his body to protect the puck when opponents get physical. Has a long reach he uses to pull the puck along when necessary despite relative lack of size. Makes accurate, sometimes dazzling passes that lead viewers to wonder if he has eyes in the back of his head. Very good at finding teammates and threading the pass on a string. Excellent wrist shot, which he can take with great accuracy from the point on the power play. His overall hockey sense is special; shows a feeling and understanding for the game that few players seem to enjoy. Withstands physical pressure well and is rarely separated from the puck or even knocked around. Very confident and has shown that he can play a skill game, even against men. Also trusts and uses his shot with regularity, thus isn’t only a pass first player. Is a go-to player and teammates find a way to give him the puck as quickly as possible, just to then place themselves in a position to get a pass from him - that's the gameplan.

As for weaknesses, Nylander's shots can be blocked relatively simply and his pattern of moves does make him susceptible to opponent pokechecks. Generally a lightweight who is neither tall nor well-built in the muscular department, although this doesn’t prevent him from being highly effective and dangerous. Doesn’t always show vigor in backchecking. Desire for puck possession can slow down other teammates or cause them to regularly relocate themselves onsides.

 

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by Ken McKenna
on

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Photo: MODO forward and 2014 prospect William Nylander is ranked second among European skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft by NHL Central Scouting (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)

Through the 2013 portion of the 2013-14 season, forward William Nylander was struggling to live up to his reputation as a top prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft. The skilled forward and son of former star NHL forward Michael Nylander had played for two different organizations at various levels of Swedish hockey, but only occasionally showed flashes of the high-end talent that gained him his high ranking.

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