Maybe Later: Linus Nyman

The first round of the draft completed last night and we saw the Leafs __________.

Today, the later rounds of the draft will have their selections made, and the Leafs have a lot more work to do. Succeeding in the first round is hard, but pulling in NHL talent in the later rounds is even harder.

This prospect, my last profile for this draft, is the only one I’ve actually been afforded the opportunity to see live, and it’s Linus Nyman.

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Who is Linus Nyman?

Nyman is a center who plays for the Kingston Frontenacs, and as a Kingston resident I’ve been a fan of his for some time.

Here’s the demographics for Nyman (from eliteprospects.com):

  • Date of Birth
    Jul 11, 1999
  • Age
  • Place of Birth
    Helsinki, FIN
  • Nation
  • Draft Team
    Kingston Frontenacs
  • Position
  • Height

    5’10” / 179 cm

  • Weight
    159 lbs / 72 kg
  • Shoots

Obviously he’s a smaller player, which is always a good indication that he’ll slip a bit later in the draft than maybe he should. The other thing working against Nyman’s ability to be a high pick is that this is not his first time entering the NHL draft. He went undrafted last year in his proper draft year.

The Finnish center will be off to the men’s league next year in Finland, Liiga, to play for Lukko. This is an excellent opportunity for his development to test his skills against adults. If he can make it there, that will certainly be encouraging.

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What do the numbers say?

From eliteprospects.com

Nyman exploded this year after a moderate draft year. He’s definitely on the radar and I’d be surprised if he didn’t get selected this year based on that production alone. This isn’t quite the production level as an overager that Leafs prospect Adam Brooks had, who scored 130 points in 66 games, but he’s probably still worth a look.

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What are the scouts saying?

Nyman (pronounced Newman) is a speedy offensive winger. His explosive acceleration is arguably his best asset and he is a shifty player that hard to hit or check the puck off his stick because of his quick hands and feet. His offensive skills are above average for the OHL and he makes plays and has an excellent sense of timing to jump on loose pucks and rebounds for second chance goals.

Nyman lacks size and strength and while he plays hard defensively and physically, he often is ineffective or loses puck battles, not due to lack of compete nut because he is just out gunned physically. — Peter Harling, Dobber Prospects

Amazing vision that played before and after the arrival of top-notch talent to the Fronts. A 1999 birthday, he will benefit from a recent trend of re-entry players being taken earlier as opposed to being a throw-away pick late in the draft. Lyman is a typical Toronto-type player whose ability to make plays at high speed overshadows his small stature. He had two two-game and one three-game stretch where he was held pointless, showing remarkable consistency start to finish. — Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet

Simply put, Nyman needs to add strength if he hopes to be effective in the future, and he’ll need to add several degrees of intensity. If he does that, there’s no further reason that he couldn’t become a productive middle six (or even top six) point producer at the NHL level. While the addition of muscle comes relatively easy, an increase in battle level and competitiveness could be harder to achieve. This is an area where chats with the player and his junior team staff would come in handy, to get a grip on his psychological readiness to improve in that sector. The feedback from those questions, for a player like Nyman, could mean the difference between getting picked in the third or fourth round, and not getting picked at all. — Jeremy Davis, Canucks Army


Why should the Leafs draft Linus Nyman?

The Leafs have already shown interest in Nyman. They invited him to their rookie camp last season along with drafted teammate and Leafs prospect Eemeli Rasanen. They didn’t offer him a contract, but that he was there showed they have interest, and probably have a lot more information on him than other teams.

Nyman is a boom or bust player and that’s exactly who teams should be targeting in the late rounds. There’s very little risk with throwing a 4th round pick on a 1.25 point-per-game player, even if they’re small, and even if they’re 19. The opportunity, though, is abundantly present, where the upside is that he can be a depth offensive player for you in the NHL. The Leafs are seeing the benefit of that right now with Andreas Johnsson, Connor Brown, and Leo Komarov.

I will fully admit a Kingston bias here, but there’s real interest in Nyman around the league and I believe it’s for good reason. Whether it’s Nyman or a different undersized or otherwise underrated player, the Leafs will be smart to swing for the fences, instead of the skating refrigerators of drafts past.

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