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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Keep him forever.