Jun 28, 2014, 1:30 AM EST
Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis paid his eighth-overall pick William Nylander quite the compliment following the first round of the NHL Draft on Friday.
“He might be the most skilled player in this draft,” Nonis said, as per the Globe and Mail.
“In terms of being safe, I don’t think it’s a risky pick. One issue for him was his size but he’s grown a lot in the last 12 months. If you watched him a year ago and look at him now, he’s taller, he’s thicker.”
The son of former NHLer Michael Nylander, the 18-year-old William was the first player taken in this draft who didn’t play in either the Ontario Hockey League or Western Hockey League.
As Nonis pointed out, Nylander isn’t the biggest prospect. He was the smallest of the first eight players selected, standing 5’11” and weighing in at only 169 pounds. Clearly, still some growing to do. But his advanced skill could make up for that. After all, isn’t Patrick Kane a bit on the small side when it comes to the hockey standard?
It helps in skill development when your father is a veteran of 920 regular season NHL games, having retired from the league as a player in 2009.
“I grew up around the rink,” said Nylander, as per the Toronto Star. “Going on the ice early, working on small things like stickhandling, shooting before practice.”
- Video: Zidlicky’s first goal with Detroit gives Red Wings OT win over Rangers 23
- Video: P.K. Subban illustrates hockey instincts through GoPro camera perspective 1
- Video: Lundqvist could be back in 10 to 14 days 5
- Isles’ Martin suspended one game for ‘reckless’ knee on Daley 11
- More bad luck for the B’s — Connolly out 6 weeks with fractured finger 21
- Fehr willing to give Panthers ‘a reasonable opportunity’ to redevelop market 49
- Video: Isles’ Martin to face hearing for ‘stupid’ knee-on-knee hit 39
- NHL on NBCSN: Reloaded Red Wings, Rangers set to battle tonight 51
- Bernier bests Panthers as Luongo goes from injured (and in street clothes) to back in net 4
- Phaneuf, Cuthbert and Lupul threaten lawsuit after tweet goes to air 59
- Wild beat Avs, dying seconds fight set stage for rematch (171)
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
- Winners and losers of the 2015 trade deadline (78)
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder (74)
- Wings get Zidlicky from Devils (74)