Yesterday was the third anniversary of the greatest moment in Leafs history: drafting William Nylander eighth overall in the 2014 NHL entry draft. Do not accuse me of hyperbole.
With that objective fact in mind, let’s take a trip down memory lane and maybe cry a little bit while reminiscing on the top five moments of William’s young career.
5. Somehow slipping to the Leafs at 8th overall in the first place
This is the first round of the 2014 draft via hockeydb.com:
There are a lot of good players on that list and also Jake Virtanen, but in hindsight if you were to do a re-draft, what would the top five look like? I would think something like this:
- Leon Draistaitl
- David Pastrnak
- Nikolaj Ehlers
- William Nylander
- Sam Reinhart
Now, obviously this is purely subjective and totally arbitrary, but I think it’s obvious that Nylander would go in the top five. Draistaitl vs. Pastrnak and Ehlers vs. Nylander are debatable, but you get the general idea. I didn’t remember this being a narrative, but apparently there were some concerns about attitude or something like that. Luckily, Brendan Shanahan did some investigating and found out that this was just a silly narrative and that, in fact, William was perfect and had never done anything wrong or even slightly immoral in his entire life. When Nylander fell in their laps at eighth overall, the Leafs pounced. Don Cherry was pissed that they didn’t take Nick Ritchie because he’s Canadian and Don is the very definition of a xenophobe. Anyway, what a wonderful day this was.
4. First NHL playoff goal
Assisted by Auston Matthews, of course.
I have a feeling we’re going to see a few more of those next season. And the year after that. And the year after that. An-
3. First career NHL hat trick
Of course it comes against the Boston Bruins because, again, everything this dude does is perfect and makes me smile for a week.
It me, celebrating my son William's first NHL hat trick. pic.twitter.com/JRrFHYQsds
— Dylan Fremlin (@DylanFremlin) February 5, 2017
Naturally, all three goals were high-skill plays, especially the first two. The stop up hesitation on the 2 on 1 goal to get Tuukka Rask to sink back into his net was gorgeous. Then William finishes it with a perfect shot top corner, as he tends to do.
2. First career NHL goal
Again he does it against a division rival, but this time he victimized the Ottawa Senators.
What a shot by the kid. Also, how weird does that old logo plus “39” look now, just a year and a bit later?
1. Just the entire 2017 World Hockey Championships
It’s funny that number one on this list doesn’t even occur in a Leafs uniform, but William absolutely tore up this tournament and even won tournament MVP.
If I had to single out a specific moment, though, it would obviously be this.
That is the happiest human I’ve ever seen (other than myself upon first viewing of this moment.)
— Newsday Sports (@NewsdaySports) June 3, 2017
This is totally unrelated. For sure. Definitely wasn’t William’s doing. Nope.
Remember to take a moment out of each day to reflect on how fortunate we are to have William Nylander.