As I’m writing this, I have just gotten off of the phone with Dylan (notably William Nylander’s #1 fan), and to summarize, we have experienced the joy that this afternoon has brought us only twice in our memories. Just a few years ago, we watched the Draft Lottery together (in different cities, but alas) when we learned that we would be picking Auston Matthews. At the time, we knew he was good, and likely a franchise player, but we had no idea HOW good he was going to be. Anyways, that was moment #1. This will come as no shock to anyone, but moment #2 happened just months ago, which was the moment that we learned John Tavares was a Maple Leaf. No surprise there. And today, with that Dreger tweet, that feeling came right back to us. Like the Tavares moment, we were on the phone as soon as possible and freaking out together. That is context on what this signing means for us, and what it means for the whole of Leaf’s nation.
In honor of the happiness that we feel, here is a William Nylander hype piece, as our beautiful boy will be with us for a long, long time yet. I’m not going to lie, I am 100% going to get carried away with GIFs, so this will be very short on words.
THE MOST IMPORTANT GIF
— dylan (@DylanFremlin) January 21, 2018
THEY ARE BACK TOGETHER. William is said to be on an overnight flight back, hopefully ready to go vs Buffalo on Tuesday night. Now that the most important GIF is out of the way, we can move into what has made Nylander so effective in his short career. You might see a pattern in the content that arises, as the best place for Nylander content is actually @dylanfremlin ‘s timeline.
This is the area that most definitely satisfies the eye-test. Night in and night out this has always seemed to be one of his best strengths, and on paper, that is proven to be correct.
Marner is constantly receiving nothing but praise for his ability to control the puck, and he seems to find a way to break the ice wide open in order to allow for whatever magic he is able to think of. Nylander has been the same throughout his career. A powerplay unit of both of this would be (somehow) even more deadly than it currently is. I did of course mention the eye test, so here’s a little reminder of what the game looks like with Nylander present.
william nylander is good at hockey pic.twitter.com/jAueYdLJiQ
— dylan (@DylanFremlin) December 24, 2017
nikita zaitsev's goal was brought to you in part by: a classic william nylander zone entry + deep carry in stop up pic.twitter.com/nYxSHlYQOv
— dylan (@DylanFremlin) November 26, 2017
As you might have noticed at the start of the season, the Leaf’s seemed to have troubles breaking out of their zone. As many pointed out, and as I will point out right now, that could largely be attributed to the lack of Nylander (who as you’ll see in the next graphic is the best on paper at this).
Just look at the Carries/60.. LOOK AT IT. His confidence and ability to create space is rivaled by only one person currently on the Leaf’s. Once again, this satisfies the eye-test that we have become so familiar with.
william nylander strips the puck from stamkos on the backcheck nbd pic.twitter.com/XuPSyW9Xxz
— dylan (@DylanFremlin) February 27, 2018
Here he is, stripping the puck off of notable good at hockey guy, Steven Stamkos. He proceeds to easily seperate him from the puck and make a clean exit pass to Hyman. This is seriously a team with Matthews and Marner (who both excel at the quick takeaways) getting ANOTHER player who is extremely good at this.
Exit pass? Check.
Man, I love William Nylander a lot. pic.twitter.com/RDp82ze9vw
— dylan (@DylanFremlin) February 16, 2017
Excuse me, I might need a second to recover from this one.
Yes, the eye-test is 3/3 so far. He can definitely carry out of the zone with ease.
The best part about William Nylander you ask? I have spewed out this much on his game, and have not even mentioned a goal or an assist. Largely this is because Nylander excels at the little things that go much more unnoticed like these breakouts, or his controlled exits into the offensive zone. On top of these huge upsides, he can also rifle a puck and is notably very good at giving the puck to someone who can do a great deal of work in very little space (No, not you Hyman). This was just meant to be a short-ish hype piece, so I will just leave you all with a few videos to keep your appetite quenched until Tuesday, when we will be watching the magic that Nylander produces in real time.
Let us never dwell on the fact that he was not around for so much of this year, it’s the past, and he’s going to make the very most of the next 6+ years of being in the blue and white.
Big thanks to Dylan Fremlin for giving me the “ok” to use the wonderful content that he puts forward daily. Most of all, thank goodness that we will finally get to see the optimal Leaf lines of the present and future.