It’s not always easy to fill the shoes that your father left behind, especially if your father scored 679 points in the National Hockey League.
But it seems at this point, young William Nylander has all the tools to not only match father Michael’s exceptional hockey achievements.
“He is really something special. He’s a player that can combine all the necessary offensive tools to be effective – and at such an early stage of his career, the sky is the limit,” said Future Considerations’ scout Patrik Hall. “His shot, vision, creativity and general puck skills makes his game in the attacking zone so lethal, he can hurt you in so many different ways. These will all be invaluable assets for him when he makes in pro league debut this fall for Rogle.”
The 17-year-old spent the majority of last season tearing up Sweden’s SuperElit league, finishing with 15 goals and 43 points in 27 games. He also saw eight games of action in the Allsvenskan where he put up four goals and six points during his stay. Nylander’s elite hockey IQ and instincts allow him to combine and utilize all his offensive tools effectively and efficiently, attacking the opposition with a variety of methods – keeping defensive systems off balance. While his passing ability is tremendous, he rarely forces passes and instead turns to his equally lethal shot to finish off plays.
Nylander is expected to make his SHL debut next season and while his offensive skills are certainly up to par for the transition, his effort and play on the defensive side of the puck has come into a question a bit.
“There are some question marks when it comes to defense with Nylander,” Hall said. “He can become careless in the neutral and defensive zone and sometimes throws the puck away to avoid being hit. At times he can also fade in-and-out of games, becoming almost invisible out there for stretches.”
Other than that though, there’s nothing too concerning in Nylander’s game. It’s common for young offensive forwards to lack a little on defense and bad habits can be corrected through good coaching and practice.
Second behind just Sam Reinhart in Future Considerations’ preliminary ranking of the 2014 NHL Draft, opportunities are plenty for Nylander and a strong draft season will go along way in his quest to go above and beyond what his father did.