Toronto Maple Leafs: William Nylander Recalled to Marlies


Toronto Maple Leafs: William Nylander Recalled to Marlies

Toronto Maple Leafs‘ highly touted prospect William Nylander made news again, shortly after his impressive performance at the World Junior Championships. The 18-year-old was recalled from MODO of the Swedish Hockey League to join the Toronto Marlies.

Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; William Nylander poses for a photo with team officials after being selected as the number eight overall pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Nylander will play his first game in the American Hockey League on Friday against the Hamilton Bulldogs.

The Leafs drafted the son of NHL alumnus Michael Nylander with the 8th overall pick in the 2014 entry draft. After an impressive showing in Leafs training camp, Nylander continued his steady play in the SHL. He recorded eight goals and 12 assists with a +3 rating for MODO, despite the team being tied for last place in the league (as of January 13).

While it’s hard for Leaf fans to get a good look at Nylander’s production aside from the scoresheet, he did perform well on national television at the World Junior Championships in Toronto. His 10 points in seven games were nearly on par with Canadian stars Connor McDavid and Sam Reinhart for tops in the tournament. Despite Toronto’s struggles as of late, management has made it clear the decision to move Nylander to Canada was to aid his development and not to help the Leafs this season.

I think it was a great decision to bring Nylander into the NHL realm and get him into the North American game sooner rather than later. The reassuring part of this news what the fact that Dubas said Nylander will not join the Leafs squad this season, under any circumstance. Thoughts of a young Nazem Kadri being brought up on an emergency call-up from the London Knights by Ron Wilson and Brian Burke came to mind when the news first broke. 

Sep 24, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators defenseman

Chris Phillips

(4) defends against Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (62) at the Air Canada Centre. Ottawa defeated Toronto 4-3 in an overtime shoot-out. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Kadri was brought into the NHL game far too early and it was obvious he was a still a teenager playing against men. Nylander and Kadri are comparable in terms of their skill-set and size (Kadri being the larger of the two).

The plan to keep Nylander in the minors for the long-term should help him become a more complete player. Like most young and skilled forwards, the call of duty is to work on his defensive game. Scouts have said he does get caught up in his own offensive talent at times and can be a defensive liability. Playing the second half of the year in the more-competitive AHL will force him to compete hard at both ends of the ice.

Nylander has the potential to be a legitimate NHL scorer and if the Leafs organization continues to play their cards right, they can maximize his potential. One might even think that Nylander could hop on to the Leafs second line tomorrow night and make an impact. I’m happy that this will not be the case.

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