Name: William Nylander
Position: Centre/Right Wing
Junior Team: Modo (SHL)
Rankings: NHL CSS – 2nd (EURO), ISS – 5th, Justin’s List – 6th, Logan’s List – 5th
William “Big Willie Style” Nylander – yes, son of Michael – is a Swedish right winger/centre and the NHL CSS’s number two Euro skater for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
In 2013-14, Big Willie played for like every team in Sweden at some point, which is weird because it makes it a tad harder to evaluate him because each sample size was kind of small.
But he still impressed (for the most part) throughout all of those smaller stints, and absolutely dominated international play in the last year.
Nylander may have the highest offensive upside in the draft, despite being only an ok skater – his hockey sense, creativity, and poise all make him an absolute treat in the offensive zone. Add in his hands (probably the best in the draft), and he looks like a future highlight-reel-every-night kind of top line playmaking centre.
It’s obvious that Willie loves to play with the puck and in the o-zone in general, as he doesn’t let his slight frame keep him from driving the net and playing through traffic. He almost always looks borderline possessed when he has the puck, looking for an open teammate or create something himself.
It’s hard to comment on this kind of stuff, but Nylander’s character has been called into question, although some of that disappeared a bit once he was left of the Swedish U18 team, as it forced him to do some self-analyzation (probably not) and step his game up (okay this actually did happen). Still, any talks of being selfish can worry a team – although character doesn’t always just happen for a teenager.
Like a lot of other offense-first players, his d-zone effort needs work. His size and strength also needs improvement.
Is he a good choice?
Yes. If Nylander is available at 8, you take him and run. Any deficiencies you think he may have are ones you can help him get rid of, and quite honestly, his positives far outweigh those negatives already. In a league that is getting more skill-based and dependent on puck possession players and offense, Nylander is a can’t miss prospect that you can bet will be in your top six (if not your top three) for a long time.
Plus, Big Willie can play right wing or centre, allowing you to use him in a variety of ways offensively.
What are the scouts saying?
“Overall, I would say that Nylander should be selected top five in the draft. His NHL upside is probably a PPG player, but he likely will never be a great two-way player. His skating, hands and reading of the game at lightspeed makes him a good fit in the modern NHL. He is going to receive a lot of love and hate, but he always will be entertaining.” – Future Considerations’ 2014 NHL Draft Guide
“[Nylander] does possess Patrick Kane like skill in his ability to control and dangle with the puck needing minimal space to unleash a quick and accurate wrist shot.” McKeen’s 2014 NHL Draft Guide
His father cause duh.
Small and good hands so Patrick Kane.