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Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski / USA TODAY Sports

Celebrating the third anniversary of the Leafs drafting William Nylander

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:

  1. Leon Draisaitl
  2. David Pastrnak
  3. Nikolaj Ehlers
  4. William Nylander
  5. 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. Draisaitl 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.

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.)

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.

  • Just Leafy

    Excellent article! Very enjoyable and great to have those highlights collected together. Early last season I was wondering if he was a floater but then he came on strong and now he’s becoming elite! Love it! Great draft pick!

  • Hugh Allan

    When it Came time for the Leafs to pick I must confess I was hoping for Nik Ehlers (sorry Don Cherry) but I am thrilled with William Nylander in Blue & White. Always interesting to look back at past drafts.

  • jimbobray

    You really should give some credit to Dave Nonis who, along with Brian Burke, really wanted Nylander in the draft. You make it seem as though it was Shanahan’s pick. He was just President, remember, Nonis was still GM.

    • Matmarwill

      What can we say about burke/nonis? Well, the current squad has kadri, reilly, bozak, perhaps nylander and gardiner to their credit. On the downside were duds like clarkson, komosarek, connolly, gustavson, toskala, etc. Their ufa selections sucked, and we almost got stuck with bolland too. In addition, their non top ten drafting was atrocious with biggs, percy, ross, etc., and the thrown away seguin and hamilton. In fact, burke/nonis non top ten picks were crap, with possible exception of brown and johnnson. Also, player development was practically non existent, except for top ten picks.

      So burke/nonis have something to their credit in several current roster players, but their teams couldnt win much. Also, ufa signings, non top-ten drafting and player development sucked big time. Perhaps they were slightly better than john ferguson’s group, but generally substandard, especially when compared to competitive clubs or the current regime.