Oh, the Leafs don’t draft skill? About that…
With the 8th overall pick, the Leafs went all in on the ultra-skilled center William Nylander out of MODO of the Swedish Hockey League. Son of Michael, the young Nylander is an offensive force, and absolutely tore up the international circuit with 12 goals and 25 points in only 14 games for Sweden’s U-18 squad.
TLN’s very own Bobby Cappucino wrote an excellent profile on Nylander just days ago. Read it here.
With the “big three” centers off the board in Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett, and Leon Draisaitl, the Leafs might still have their future number one center.
Perhaps more surprising that Nylander was still available at 8 is that the Leafs passed over the likes of Nick Ritchie to take him. Some would consider that progress, as many were sure that the Leafs would prefer size to skill, but don’t expect Nonis and Co. to get any credit.
One of the more interesting wrinkles in the Leafs’ selection of Nylander is that, since his SHL contract is up, he’s free to cross the pond and play for the Toronto Marlies immediately. It looks as if Nylander will, quite literally, develop before Leafs’ fans’ eyes.
Update: A very pro Instagram courtesy of Steve Dangle.
Stay tuned to TLN for complete 2014 NHL Draft coverage.