The Toronto Maple Leafs have yet to confirm whether William Nylander is heading to the 2016 World Junior Hockey Championships, but it seems like Team Sweden is preparing for his arrival. At least, that’s what a reporter from Swedish Publication Aftonbladet is reporting.
The article, written by Hans Abrahamsson is in Swedish, but here’s the gist of the situation:
- The Toronto Marlies play three games this week, against Binghamton, Wilkes-Barre, and Hershey.
- The Marlies will use Nylander for Wednesday and Friday’s game, but according to Sweden coach Rikard Grönborg, Nylander will fly out to Helsinki on Saturday.
- The only way that Nylander will no join the team is if he gets injured on Wednesday or Friday, or if the Leafs decide to call him up. Grönborg says that the Leafs have no plans to call him up.
The NHL and SHL have a transfer agreement in place that allows all prospects playing outside of the NHL to represent Sweden in major tournaments. As such, the Leafs have to allow Nylander to play at the tournament or call him up to the big club. While the latter is possible, it’s not seen as likely just yet.
Nylander will likely head to Helsinki as the AHL’s leading scorer. Through 25 games, the 19-year-old has picked up 33 points; five more than Bridgeport’s Joe Whitney. Nylander would presumably join draft-eligible brother Alex and Leafs prospect Dmytro Timashov on the team.
William Nylander to join Swedish world junior team on Saturday following the Toronto Marlies’ two road games this week.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) December 15, 2015
The Leafs have confirmed Nylander’s assignment to Team Sweden, with a description exactly matching the situation above. Nylander will play through until Friday’s game against Wilkes-Barre, a matchup that could very well impact the battle for first overall in the AHL.
This will be Nylander’s second appearance in the World Juniors. Last year, he scored three goals and seven assists in seven games in the tournament, hosted in Toronto and Montreal. Nylander has also represented Sweden at the U16, U17, and U18 levels since 2011.