NHL Draft Profile #7: William Nylander

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Updated: April 8, 2014
William Nylander

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TopShelfProspectsThe son of former NHLer Michael Nylander, who played for the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, and New York Rangers, William Nylander is looking to follow in his father’s footsteps.  Nylander is playing against men this season and showing impressive numbers for a 17-year-old.  While he has just seven points in 22 games in the SHL (formerly Elitserien) he has been outstanding on a pair of loan stints to the Allvenskan, where he has scored 27 points in 35 games.  These leagues are incredibly tough for young players, and this kind of production from a player his age is sure to turn heads. Nylander has international experience playing for Sweden in the 2013 Under 17 World Challenge and the 2013 Ivan Hlinka tournament. He should also play for Sweden at this year’s Under 18 and this will be a big tournament for him to solidify his draft stock.

William Nylander
Center/Right Wing — shoots Right
Born May 1 1996
Height 5.11 — Weight 174 [180 cm/79 kg]

William Nylander is an outstanding skater. He has very good top end speed and excellent acceleration and change of pace ability. He uses this to fool defenders off the rush and to open up passing and shooting lanes by quickly changing speeds. He also shows very good agility and the ability to get around defenders one-on-one. His balance is good, but he could use more core strength in order to avoid getting knocked off the puck by bigger defenders.

In the offensive zone, Nylander shows off outstanding hands, and incredible stickhandling ability. He can control the game with the puck on his stick, and protects it well. He is an outstanding playmaker with great vision, and can pass the puck through the eye of a needle.  His shot features a quick release, and good accuracy, but needs to add some power. There are plenty of skills there, but there are also some things Nylander has to work on. He must add mass, and become better along the boards and in front of the net. He also needs to make smarter decisions with the puck, sometimes he should make the simple play when it is available, instead of making the more complicated and riskier play.

Nylander will also need to work on his defensive game over the coming years. He has a tendency to float and puck watch in the defensive zone that will need to be addressed. He needs time, and a good coach, to teach him to be in the right spots defensively, and he needs to become more tenacious on the back check.

Despite some flaws, the high-end skill is as good as anyone in the draft. He has the potential to be a top line NHL centre if he can fix those issues. Still the boom or bust potential for Nylander is more prevalent in my opinion than those ranked above him, and thats why he is seventh on the list. His style (not potential, just style), compares well with Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes.

You can view some videos of Nylander here:

 

Check back tomorrow for my number eight ranked prospect.

 

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