TLN Roundtable: Free Willy

William Nylander over the last couple of weeks has, quite frankly, been obscene. With that in mind, today’s roundtable is all about him: a handful of us have these nice things to say about why we’ve got the kid’s back.

Ryan Hobart

My favourite thing about Nylander is absolutely the way he shifts gears, both with the puck and when chasing it. The way he goes from 0 to 60 to beat defenders on a zone entry, or to capitalize on an opportunity to stick check for a timely takeaway. It really shows the combination of Hockey IQ and skill that he was touted as having.

I also love that he’s the second-best rookie on the team while being the third or fourth best rookie in the entire league. He is such an important part of the future of this team. It’s crazy that he’s a full tier behind Matthews/Laine, and leading the conversation with the other dominant rookies like Marner, Murray, and Werenski. He is my sunshine, my only sunshine. And he makes me happy when skies are gray.

Wrap Around Curl

Adam Laskaris

William Nylander is pretty wild of a dude. On pace for something like a 25-goal, 40 assist season during his first full year in the league, he’s one of the driving forces behind this Leafs rejuvenated roster. Make no mistake, the Leafs would not be quite where they are in the standings without him. As for my favourite thing about him, it’s that he’s ~much better than Jake Virtanen~  seemingly quite happy with how things have gone so far in his career. Likely too good for the AHL last year, never once was there any issue as to him being disappointed in playing for the Marlies. Getting injured at the World Juniors didn’t seem to shake him, and neither did having his name caught up in some quite ridiculous trade rumours earlier this season. He’s just kept on keeping on, and well, it’s worked out quite remarkably so far.

Evan Presement

What’s not to like about William Nylander? He’s immensely skilled, has a great shot, and can skate like few others can.

One of my favourite things about Nylander is watching him carry the puck through the neutral zone, almost always resulting in a clean zone entry. He’s so shifty and so smart with the puck, and that makes for a dynamic, exciting player. He reminds me a bit of Kessel and Grabovski in the sense that as soon as he starts skating with control, you immediately know it’s him. He just glides around on the ice.

Also, hockey players are human, and we’ve seen it time and time again where a player can’t handle the pressure of playing in Toronto. Nylander, to this point, has overcome all the adversity thrown his way. Last season with the Marlies, Nylander was called out by Head Coach Sheldon Keefe ahead of their game seven matchup against Albany. Nylander responded by picking up six points over the team’s next six games. This season, Nylander has done more of the same, producing at an extremely high level while being called out by the media, and even his own coach. He seems to step up when challenged, which is lends itself well to having success as a Leaf.

Jeff Veillette

That they didn’t trade him for Brandon Montour. Here’s how the two have fared since that became a radio topic on February 9th.

Player Age Pos GP G A PTS CF%Rel
William Nylander 20 RW 21 7 14 21 0.88
Brandon Montour 22 RD 12 0 2 2 -7.4

Keep him forever.


  • Chelmsford Leafs

    The Chelmsford Chieftains would happily trade Huska and both Bartlett twins for just one shift from Nylander.
    Seriously, the games he played in the NHL last year once play-offs were out of the question, have really helped. Personally, even though he will get fewer goals, I prefer Nylander to Matthews and Marner.
    Changing the subject, since the site was updated there have been hardly any updates from the Marlies – is there a conspiracy behind this.
    The Leafs, Marlies and Solar Bears could all reach post-season – how rare is this across the leagues? Talking of the Bears, is there anyone in the Leafs Nation thinking of retiring to the Florida sun so we could get some news from there.

  • Brent Wisken

    Super skilled, a great playmaker and sniper with exceptional vision, and he is fast, it’s hard to understand why people have overlooked Nylander when talking about Matthews and Marner. Finally he is getting some credit. He is one of the most consistent players on the team and he does compete. He and Matthews also have great chemistry together. When Matthews is with Nylander, he doesn’t just have to rely on his shooting skills, he can also emphasize his playmaking ability. Also, vice-versa. It’s great how they can bring out each other’s full skill set. I like Nylander just as much as Marner. Hard to pick favourites, and i am not going to.

  • Capt.jay

    It’s crazy how quietly kadri went out and got 30 goals this season.

    Imagine this. Anderssen could’ve been gotten just as easily with our 31st pick instead of Pittsburgh’s 30th. Could you imagine this team with Kessel still on it? In all reality we’d be in the same position without the Kessel or phaneuf trade because nothing we got from phaneuf has done anything for us this season and as mentioned before, Anderssen could’ve been gotten with our own 31st. It saved us cap space and perhaps a position or two in the standings last season. crazy how we are where we are and haven’t seen the full effects of the trades that were made for the rebuild. Kappenen still in the minors and the draft picks still to come. Interesting.

    • Justin.PI

      Interesting thought, but also keep in mind the cap space was used to sign andersen..having kessel this year means we would not have been able to trade for andersen until after the season starts, since LTIR savings only accrue once the season starts. Who knows what andersens value may be during the season, or more likely at this years deadline, since its very rare teams trade players at the beginning of a season… and then would we even be able to acquire him or even be in playoff talks? Crazy how stuff piles over.