William “Bill Ny” Nylander is the 3rd ranked player in this year’s TLN Top 20 Prospects. Called by many the most skilled player in his draft year (which looks like it could prove to be true), the Leafs were ecstatic to select this young Swedish player, the son of former NHLer Michael Nylander. Since joining the Maple Leafs, Bill Ny has done nothing but impress.
|Jeff||Ryan H.||Shawn||Ryan F.||Adam||Dom||Jess||Katy||Readers|
Nylander was ranked #1 in our 2014 summer list and #2 in 2015.
Yes, I was the only one to rank Nylander 2nd in this year’s rankings. I intend to break down the specifics of this in a future post when it’s revealed what order the top 2 are. But I’m certainly in the minority here, as there are 3’s across the rest of the board.
|C/RW||Calgary, AB||5’11||188||Right||Toronto Marlies||2014 Draft (1-8th)|
|2008-09||12||Team Maryland Bantam Minor||AYMBHL||28||25||26||51||N/A||12|
|2010-11||14||Chicago Mission Bantam Major AAA||T1EBHL||29||34||27||61||N/A||8|
|2011-12||15||SDE HF J18||J18 Elit||18||12||14||26||18.95||14||14|
|15||Södertälje SK U16||U16 SM||3||3||4||7||N/A||4||6|
|15||Södertälje SK J18||J18 Allsvenskan||9||7||5||12||17.49||2||0|
|15||Södertälje SK J20||SuperElit||8||1||3||4||8.2||2||-8|
|15||Sweden U16 (all)||International-Jr||7||4||7||11||N/A||4||6|
|15||Sweden U17 (all)||International-Jr||3||0||0||0||N/A||4||-1|
|2012-13||16||Södertälje SK J18||J18 Elit||1||2||1||3||39.36||2||2|
|16||Södertälje SK J20||SuperElit||27||15||28||43||26.11||14||14|
|16||Sweden U17 (all)||International-Jr||3||2||3||5||N/A||2||0|
|16||Sweden U18 (all)||International-Jr||10||4||2||6||N/A||4||2|
|2013-14||17||MODO Hockey J20||SuperElit||3||0||3||3||16.4||4||-1|
|2014-15||17||Sweden U18 (all)||International-Jr||14||12||13||25||N/A||6||11|
|2015-16||18||Sweden U20 (all)||International-Jr||12||5||13||18||N/A||2||1|
|19||Toronto Maple Leafs||NHL||22||6||7||13||48.45||4||1|
|19||Sweden U20 (all)||International-Jr||2||1||1||2||N/A||0||1|
Finally, we have a prospect with enough NHL games to utilize possession stats. Last season, Nylander posted a (5v5 Score, Zone and Venue adjusted) rel CF% of +3.12, but only a rel xGF% of -4.23. That’s a stark difference, one of the largest discrepancies I’ve seen. xGF% has a stronger correlation to winning than Corsi does because it includes data for shot location, an attempt to estimate shot quality. This is a function of Nylander being last on the Maple Leafs in individual average shot distance. He’ll have to get to better areas of the ice in order to start having a positive impact on winning. This should be something that comes with age and comfortability in the NHL.
By traditional stats, Nylander has dominated the SHL and AHL, averaging 0.82 P/GP in the SHL and over 1 P/GP in the AHL. He also had a strong outing in the NHL with 13 points in 22 games. There’s no question he’s an offensive threat, with a dangerous shot and elite vision. I have no doubts that he’ll be a very producive NHL player, possibly verging on elite (my definition of elite is pretty tight company).
|pGPSn||pGPSs||pGPS%||pGPS PPG||pGPS PP82||pGPSr|
|25 (13/18)||22 (7/18)||88.0% (1/18)||0.65 (4/18)||53.08 (4/18)||56.96 (1/18)|
- pGPSn: The number of matches between the subject and the player-seasons (one season by a single player, i.e, John Tavares 2008 OHL) in the historical sample.
- pGPSs: The number of statistical matches that became NHL regulars. This is determined by playing 200 NHL games.
- pGPS%: Simply s divided by n, this is the percentage of statistical matches that successfully became NHL players.
- pGPS PPG: The NHL points per game of successful matches.
- pGPS P82: The same as pGPS PPG, but stretched over 82 games.
- pGPSr: A bit of a hybrid number, this pGPS Rating combines the percentage and points per game to produce a number that includes both likelihood of success and potential upside.
Based on the success of his historical comparables, Nylander is projected to become a top-six forward.
To learn more about the Prospect Graduation Probabilities System, check out this post.
Nylander ranks 1st of the Leafs skaters on this list in pGPS% and pGPSr, the more important two statistics. This leaves me incredibly excited, that there’s a very strong indication that Nylander will not only make it to the NHL (duh) but will have a high-level of production over his career.
The Eye Test
Nylander is a smooth-skating, intelligent, pretty-passing, accurate-shooting, and altogether dynamic offensive player. He is dominant in controlling the puck and creating chances in the offensive zone. He’s such a joy to watch because the creativity he brings is far even from many of the current offensive superstars in the NHL. He’s a different type of amazing than an Ovechkin or a Stamkos, but he’s amazing all the same. I won’t surprised at all to see him approach that level of offensive impact for the Maple Leafs over the course of his career. Yes, I believe he’s that good. Also I said approach. I’m not telling you he’ll score 60 goals. But I am telling you he’ll be freaking good.
Other eye test elements include the other side of the puck – defense. I’m not going to try to tell you he’ll play like Patrice Bergeron. However, his puck control ability should allow him to keep the puck out of his own zone; I believe he’ll be a Zuccarello-type player that still has a positive defensive impact despite being only okay at actual defensive zone play.
As Seen on TV
In his draft+1 year, Nylander started the year in Sweden with MODO, which I felt was the right move development-wise at the time. When MODO was beginning to suffer as a hockey team, the Leafs felt it pertinent to move Nylander to North America to play for the Marlies. He has since spent 1.5 seasons with them, eclipsing production expectations for players of that age in the AHL. His point-per-game pace is definitively elite at that level. He also got that taste in the NHL, and it was largely successful, so I fully expect him to be hungry for more.
Unlike most of the prospects in this series, there’s no reason to think Nylander won’t be in the NHL next season. It’s pretty clear that, barring a horrid training camp, he’ll be on the team. So the question becomes, how will he do?
I think 60 points with a positive Corsi REL is a reasonable set of expectations. I’m not sure he fixes the xGF issue next year, that could take some time to build the strength and comfortability to get to those homeplate scoring areas. That point total would be higher than most of the rest of the Maple Leafs have ever achieved. So, the expectations from me are high. He should fill a top 6 role by season’s end, especially once some of the pending UFAs have been moved out. I think he’ll surprise a lot of people who are unfamiliar with just how good he has been since the Leafs acquired him. I’m getting giddy here just writing about it.
Like I said, I’ll be following this up soon with a comparison between my #3 (who may or may not be Mitch Marner) and Nylander to justify it. I wanted to keep this profile just about the player and not about his competition. Either way, I think I’ve successfully conveyed, at minimum, how excited I am for William Nylander’s upcoming season and future with the Maple Leafs.
We’ll finish this week with the top 2, so please stay tuned for those!
The Rankings So Far
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #4 Nikita Zaitsev
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #5 Kasperi Kapanen
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #6 Connor Brown
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #7 Andreas Johnson
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #8 Dmytro Timashov
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #9 Travis Dermott
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #10 Nikita Soshnikov
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #11 Jeremy Bracco
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #12 Brendan Leipsic
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #13 Zach Hyman
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #14 Carl Grundstrom
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #15 Andrew Nielsen
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #16 Tobias Lindberg
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #17 Yegor Korshkov
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #18 Adam Brooks
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #19 Kasimir Kaskisuo
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: #20 Garret Sparks
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: 10 players who received no votes from us
- TLN Top 20 Prospects 2016: Honourable Mentions