Being that we rely on second-hand reports and highlight clips for many of these prospects, especially for those playing overseas, we can’t really evaluate new Leaf William Nylander on a game in-game out basis, but maybe we can all agree Dave Nonis, Dave Morrison and the draft team seemed to have the right philosophy when approaching their eighth overall pick last night.
After the draft, Nonis spoke about high-end skill up front as an area of weakness in contrast to a more loaded pipeline on the backend. He addressed the size concerns with a sound rationale and emphasized the high-end skill and upside of the selection:
“He’s grown a lot in the last 12 months. Compared to tape of him a year ago he’s taller, he’s thicker. There’s a lot of work left to do there for him, but in terms of foot speed, puck skills, ability to shoot the puck, he’s got all those down now… Against Canada [in the U18s], when things were difficult and they kind of ran at him a little bit, one of the things we were looking for was to see if he was going to shrink at all. That wasn’t a factor at all. I think he was trying to prove a point that he’s not going to be a kid who is going to be intimidated.
“He’s electrifying. He has NHL speed, NHL hands, NHL shot right now. It’s about whether the rest of his game can catch up.”
Enter the Leafs’ development staff. There’s certain things that can be taught and certain things that can’t. Big bonus if the Leafs can bring him along as a center.
From Sweden-based scout Uffe Bodin of Elite Prospects:
"When it comes to pure offensive skill, I think that William Nylander is the best Swedish prospect since Nicklas Backstrom."
— birky (@b1rky) June 28, 2014
Onto day two, when it would sure be nice to find a way into the 2nd round. Said Nonis of the possibility:
“We’ve talked to a couple of teams about possibly acquiring a second round pick. I wouldn’t be shocked if that happens. If not, we’ll pass the second and we’ll have to do some damage in the 3rd and the two 4ths that we have.”
The Leafs’ selections as of this posting are as follows:
Maple Leafs 2014 Draft Selections
|Rnd||Pick||Overall||Team||Player||Pos||Country||Height||Weight||Amateur League||Amateur Team|
|1||8||8||TOR||WILLIAM NYLANDER||C/W||CAN||5' 11"||169||SWEDEN||MODO|
Committed to Boston College
|5||8||128||TOR||DAKOTA JOSHUA||C||USA||6'2"||185||USHL||Sioux Falls|
|6||8||158||TOR||NOLAN VESEY||LW||USA||6'1"||198||USPHL||South Shore
Committed to Maine
|7||8||188||TOR||PIERRE ENGVALL||W||SWE||6'4"||201||SuperElit||Frolunda J20|
- Full profile (scouting report, video, stats, analysis): Maple Leafs draft William Nylander with 8th overall selection
- PPP: Transcript of an interview with Wiliam Nylander
- Mirtle: Why I like the Nylander pick
- NHL.com: Full first round pick by pick listing
- Siegel: Nylander represents the kind of homegrown talent the Leafs have long lacked
- The new Leaf pick has already been cast as “Derek Nylander” and Joffrey from Game of Thrones
- Thomas Drance: Brian Burke’s hair now legitimately looks like Magneto’s helmet
- The Score: Isles’ GM Garth Snow on Josh Ho Sang pick – “They shit on me too.”
- On The Forecheck: Predators acquire James Neal from Pittsburgh