Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Wonderful GIFs of Wonderful William Nylander

This is the third edition of what I’ve decided to turn into a series of sorts. Earlier this week I covered Mitch Marner and Jake Gardiner, so it is now time to share with you all of my best William Nylander GIFs. I have a lot of them because he is my son and I love him dearly.

Gardiner + Nylander = good things

Like I implied in the tweet, if you have Gardiner and Nylander on the ice at the same time you’re transition game is going to be quite efficient. Both players are extremely good at skating with the puck and aren’t afraid to do it themselves or make passes that most players wouldn’t dare in fear of angering their coach. In this situation Gardiner gives it to Nylander who is skating back toward his net and continues to do so after he receives the pass with Thomas Vanek right on him. Nylander knows he’s a much better skater than Vanek so he curls around him and leaves him in the dust relatively easily. He then makes a shifty move on Frans Nielsen at the blue line before passing it to Nazem Kadri for the zone entry.

Stealing from Ivan Provorov

The only immoral thing William has ever done is steal and by that I mean steal pucks from poor, unsuspecting opponents. This one begins with a Nylander shot on the rush which is stopped. Provorov then scoops the puck up, heading around the back of his net without realizing that Nylander is right on his tail. Nylander reaches around him with one hand on his stick and strips the puck from him before turning back the other way with it and finding Connor Carrick at the point with a pass. This is art.

Nylander vs. two Flyers defencemen (you’ll never guess who wins)

This begins as a play that doesn’t look like much. The puck is sent into the Flyers’ zone and all the Leafs except Nylander make a line change while all the Flyers’ forwards also change. Both Shayne Gostisbehere and Brandon Manning are in between Nylander and the puck, but William isn’t phased. He slips in between them and after Manning gets a stick on it whacking it over to the boards, Nylander curls and picks it up. He somehow now has room to make a play and he does, sending a pass to Roman Polak who has just come on the ice and into the zone. Polak takes one of his patented slapshots, but Neuvirth(?) makes the save.

Puck retrieval + evading forecheckers + stretch pass for the zone exit

Nylander is the first guy back for the puck retrieval in the defensive zone and makes a crafty little behind the back backhanded pass to Matt Hunwick off the boards, successfully evading the forechecker. Hunwick chips it back to Nylander past the two forwards who have converged on him and Nylander plays a quick give and go with Leo Komarov who is stationary at the hashmarks. Immediately upon receiving the pass back, Nylander makes a tape to tape stretch pass to Kadri at the far blue line for the easy zone entry. I honestly believe Nylander could’ve been a great defenceman as well if he had chosen that position.

Catch and release

Nylander is extremely good at the catch and release shot because he’s always playing on the right side. I wish he would play the left side on the powerplay at least because it adds one-timers as a dangerous option, but he’s become really got at getting the shot off quickly from the right side anyway. Here Komarov makes a great pass across the slot to Nylander and he gets the shot off in a hurry which beats Antti Niemi, but not the crossbar.

Skating circles around the Stars

The Stars have no clue what to do with Nylander’s speed here. First he comes flying down the wing and past the defender to the outside who almost falls down. Then he goes around the net and when he comes out the other side all five Stars are collapsed around their net in the slot so he pivots with speed to the middle of the ice and fires a shot on net. What began as a two on four turned into a Nylander shot on goal.

Less than a minute previous to the last clip

Nylander receives the pass while nearly stationary and two Stars converging on him in the corner. Two strides later he’s evaded both of them and is skating around the back of the net, proceeding to skate out to the point after he can’t find any open teammates. He then takes a long wrist shot on net with Auston Matthews standing in front, but he doesn’t get a stick on it.

More transition game

The best way to exit the zone is to give Nylander the puck. Here he cruises out of the defensive zone and through the neutral zone virtually uncontested before chipping it by Brian Gionta at the offensive blue line. I just love watching the kid skate with the puck.

Skating by everybody again

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Nylander get stopped in the neutral zone because I don’t think it’s ever happened. Unfortunately the Blue Jackets defender was very rude at the end and deflected his shot into the netting, but please enjoy watching this wonderful boy skate.

Two way play

Why do people think Nylander is bad defensively?

Powerplay goal vs. the Senators

Remember when I said earlier that Nylander is really good at the catch and release on the right side, specifically on the powerplay? This is what I was talking about. I still think it would be beneficial for Nylander and Matthews to get comfortable taking one timers and switch sides, but this is a thing of beauty. What a shot.

Yet again skating circles around the opposition

Like the Stars defenders earlier, the Senators all get caught flat footed with Nylander doing circles around them. He continues to take the space given to him until he comes around the net and Cody Ceci vacates Zach Hyman right in front of the net in order to chase Nylander, who promptly gives it to Hyman.

Ridiculous assist vs. the Jets

RIP Joel Armia. Nylander enters the zone with Armia on his tail and then makes a hard cut back toward the blueline. Armia tries to hit him high, but Nylander ducks under him and curls back into the middle, leaving Armia behind. Nylander takes the puck down to the goal line and then feeds Komarov on the far post for the one timer and the goal. I distinctly remember laughing out loud watching this live.

Nylander + Matthews = magic

Again the play starts with Nylander skating through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone where he cuts across the blueline. All of the Canadiens’ are so focused on Nylander that they don’t notice Matthews streaking down the wing. Nylander notices him though and after side stepping an opponent he sends Matthews a backhand pass which he deftly kicks up to his stick using the outside of his foot. Matthews gets a good shot off, but Carey Price is also really good.

He gets knocked down, but he gets up again

This is one of my all-time favourites. Nylander somehow maintains possession of the puck after getting knocked down in the corner and proceeds to get up and get a shot on goal from the slot. Sometimes you just can’t stop him.

Dominating three on three overtime

Three on three is amazing and it suits Nylander’s game perfectly. It’s all about puck possession and he is extremely good with the puck in open space. In this situation he takes Jeff Carter for a skate and eventually curls away from him, feeding it to Morgan Rielly at the point for a shot.

Spinning pass to Kadri 

Yet another display of Nylander’s fantastic vision. He’s skating away from the net toward the blueline and Kadri has snuck in behind the defenders with only Petr Mrazek behind him. Nylander somehow sees him and makes a spinning pass around Nielsen right on Kadri’s tape who then tries to take the puck across the crease, but Mrazek makes a nice poke check.

Primary assist on a Kadri goal

The play starts with a Nylander shot which gets kicked out into the slot where Kadri shoots it, but it’s blocked. The puck makes it back out to the blueline, but not out of the zone. Hunwick makes a nice pass down low to Nylander and the three Red Wings forwards have blown the zone, making it a three on two with Nylander, Kadri and Matthews being the three. That is never a good situation for the opposition and they make the Wings pay. Kadri ends up being the one left alone and he’s right in the slot where Nylander found him and Kadri makes no mistake on the shot.

Gardiner and Nylander working together again

This starts with a heads up play by Gardiner. As the puck is coming toward him while skating backward into his own zone he’s already found Nylander curling through the neutral zone with speed, he now just has to execute and he does. Nylander catches the pass in stride and flies through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone as he always does. Mike Green has retreated way back toward his own net presumably because he’s not very confident he can stop Nylander at full speed, but Nylander just misses the glove side high.

Ridiculous shot vs. the Flyers

This shot is just outrageous. He has the puck along the board side hash marks on the right side so his stick is on the board side as well. This is quite a low percentage shot, but Nylander somehow finds room over Neuvirth’s shoulder with a bullet of a wrist shot. This reminds me of a goal the newest Leafs first round pick Timothy Liljegren scored last year.

Setting up his friend Auston for a goal

Nylander skates through the circle on the right side and hesitates to give the illusion that he’s going to shoot, effectively making Jack Johnson go down for a shot block and throwing off the goaltender Joonas Korpisalo. He takes advantage by stepping around Johnson and feeding Matthews on the far post who is stopped on the original attempt, but he finds it again and taps it in.

Goal vs. the Blue Jackets

If you read the Marner piece from the other day you already saw this GIF, but they both made great plays on this goal so it makes it into both pieces. Marner lets it go through his legs for Nylander and he makes a perfect shot over Korpisalo’s blocker.

Goal vs. the Devils

The look on Matthews’ face when he looks at Nylander is hilarious. Also, the curl and drag prior to firing it off the crossbar and in was pretty cool.

Near goal during game two vs. the Capitals

Matthews makes a really nice area pass to Nylander who is behind the defence and in tight on Braden Holtby. Nylander and Holtby both reach for the puck, but Nylander wins and pulls it around Holtby to his forehand. Unfortunately Holtby stretches his leg out and Nylander is in too tight to get the puck over and into the net.

Setting up Matthews for a chance

Matthews strips newly very rich Evgeny Kuznetsov in the neutral zone and passes the puck to Nylander who then takes over. He tries to make a royal road pass, but it’s blocked by Karl Alzner. Without missing a stride Nylander picks the puck back up and goes around the net using his edges to curl around the other side and back toward the slot. He finds Matthews for a wide open net on the far post, but Matthews fans on it which is a rather rare occurrence.

Breaking Karl Alzner’s ankles

I can’t wait to watch Nylander do this to Alzner more often now that he’s a Montreal Canadien. He fakes the pass to Connor Brown at the blueline and Alzer takes the bait hook, line and sinker. Nylander then steps by him to the middle of the ice and gets a shot on goal from just inside the faceoff dot.

Nullifying a Capitals two on one

Noted bad defensive player using his speed to nullify a two on one.

Victimizing Dmitri Orlov leading to a goal

Nylander drags the puck around Orlov and then curls back around him toward the point where he feeds Gardiner for the falling down one-timer which goes off Hyman’s skate and into the net.

Again using his skating ability to create offence

Nylander is really good at stopping up and then quickly accelerating the other direction. Here he victimizes Leaf legend Daniel Winnik with his stop and start move, then throws the puck toward the net. Connor Carrick, who arrived in Toronto via a Winnik trade, was pinching into the slot and gets a shot off from a dangerous spot, but can’t convert.

Making plays from his stomach

Nylander is falling and sliding on his stomach into the corner, but still manages to make a pass to the slot. The pass hits a defender’s skate and briefly sits right in front of Holtby where Hyman comes charging in, but Holtby gets it covered up.

I could brag about Nylander for days on end, but this is probably enough for now. I’ll be back in a few days with a new edition of “look at all these wonderful plays by this wonderful Leaf,” and the next one just might be on everybody’s favourite teenaged 40 goal scorer.

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