Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

2017-18 Leafs Season in Review: William Nylander

Hello, friends. Do you have a moment to talk about our lord and saviour, William Nylander?


82 20 41 61 .40 -.67

The Hyman-Matthews-Nylander line was great again at 5v5, operating at a clip of 2.07 rel.CF%, 3.87 rel.xGF% which resulted in a 15.01 rel.GF% largely due to a sky high on-ice PDO of 106.25. Unfortunately for both the team and Nylander, Matthews missed about a quarter of the season due to injury and Nylander was shuffled around the lineup during that time. The only other duo Nylander played with for over 50 minutes was Kadri-Komarov and that line wasn’t great, to say the least. In just under 90 minutes together at 5v5, that trio posted a -6.7 rel.CF%, -15.14 rel.xGF% while still posting a positive relative goal share (1.68%) due to, you guessed it, a high on-ice PDO (102.63.) The obvious answer as to why that line struggled is that Komarov was there and he was an absolute boat anchor this year wherever he played in the lineup. It’s also obviously a small sample size so it’s hard to take anything from it other than that William really misses his friend Auston when he’s not around.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Nylander had a big year in terms of point production at 5v5, ranking 30th in the league in P/60 among players with over 500 minutes played, sandwiched between Sebastion Aho (the cute little elf looking one) and Alexander Ovechkin. His 44 5v5 points ranked 25th in the NHL and the only reason his box score totals look nearly identical to his 2016-17 season is a drop off from 26 powerplay points to just 12, likely due to no fault of his own. The second powerplay unit runs through Nylander and Matthews on the half wall and, with Matthews out for 25% of the season, Nylander didn’t have many other weapons. A lot of that drop off likely simply had a lot to due with luck as well, but I dug into that a little deeper back in March.

Production Snapshot

Nylander ranked in the 98th percentile in 5v5 primary assists in 2017-18. That is good. His strength is clearly in his playmaking abilities, which is obviously a good thing for a player playing on the best 5v5 goal scorer in the world’s wing. His individual expected goal scoring rate also implies that he was likely unlucky in terms of his own chances going in the net, which may bode well for the Leafs in contract negotiations. He also ranked in the 84th percentile by Dom Luszczyszyn’s game score, which is comfortably in first line territory. The kid is good at hockey and also everything else, probably.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Grade: Perfect

If you’re going to ask me to subjectively rank my son, this is what you’re going to get ten times out of ten.

Season Highlight (s)

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

I obviously couldn’t pick just one, so instead I mashed together a bunch of clips I had on my laptop this year into one video. Enjoy this elegant boy.

2018-19 Outlook

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

We all know the focus right now is on signing his new contract, which Matt Cane’s contract predictor has him signing for five years at seven million per. The dollar amount is almost certainly going to fall into the 6-7 million range, the only question is the term. The Leafs will likely look to lock him up long term as the cap will likely continue to rise and a bridge deal would likely lead to them having to pay him much more in a couple years. Watch for the announcement via @LeafsPR in the coming days (hopefully.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    6-7M for Nylander yup. How much for Marner 7-8? How much for the spoiled coddled Matthews, my guess he will want to be 13M and he isn’t worth 10M. JVR is obviously gone or is he? 2 of the 4 will be dealt in a year or two. Trade Matthews at least the other two tried in the playoffs or was it Babcocks fault he didn’t play Martin when the going got tough?