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Leafs’ Nonis: Nylander ‘might be most skilled player in this draft’

Jun 28, 2014, 1:30 AM EST

2014 NHL Draft - Round 1 Getty Images

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.”

  1. opattytheirishrover - Jun 28, 2014 at 1:35 AM

    Did Harry Potter ditch his glasses for skates?!?

  2. broadstreetbeatdown - Jun 28, 2014 at 1:39 AM

    Nonis….delusional as usual.

    • salmon90 - Jun 28, 2014 at 1:44 AM

      How so? This guy ‘might’ be the most skilled and by most scout analysis ‘is’ the most skilled. Hardly a bold claim as the article states.

      • kaptaanamerica - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:10 AM

        It’s the fact that it’s no nuts making the statement. If someone impartial or with a clue made the statement that’d be a different story. Remember this is the same guy who gave Phaneuf a 7×7 deal… or was it 8×7 mill, whatever it was the guy lost all credibility with that and the Clarkson fiasco. The guy has made some strange decisions.

    • alliceishome - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:40 AM

      Philly fans, uninformed as usual

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:05 AM

        Easy haha. Don’t lump us all together. Nylander skill is undeniable. It doesn’t hurt that he has already been playing against older competition.

      • broadstreetbeatdown - Jun 29, 2014 at 1:16 AM

        Toronto fans, delusional like their sorry a$$ GM.

  3. lordfletcher - Jun 28, 2014 at 1:49 AM

    well I mean I would say this too after not being able to trade up to secure a future #1 or #2 (potential) center per all future scouts opinions

    he had a solid U18’s but disappointed at MODO (IMO)

    anything can happen as the draft is mostly a crap shoot after the #3 pick

  4. hockeyornothing - Jun 28, 2014 at 1:57 AM

    Draft is a crapshoot at every spot – how bout all those undrafted phenoms too?

    Every team tries to fill future needs. What else would you have been watching tonight anyway? Might as well have some fun with it.

    The truly scary part is watching the sons of the players you grew up watching getting drafted! That’s when you know you’re old!

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:43 AM

      I’ve actually seen both the son and the grandson of a player I watched when I was a kid come and go from the NHL.

    • lordfletcher - Jun 28, 2014 at 8:24 AM

      I think my comment came off a lot more negative than I originally planned. My bad

      Agree with OP

  5. gerard33 - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:00 AM

    Umm… that is a child.

  6. 950003cups - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:18 AM

    NONIS: Then again, maybe he’ll suck

  7. Hard to BeLeaf - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:12 AM

    Another Canadian-born Swedish player who’s father was in the NHL on a western Canadian team. I’ve seen this one before. Just don’t mess this one up like you did with Alex Steen.

    • dueman - Jun 28, 2014 at 9:46 AM

      Ya, I guess they should have hung on to Steen for another seven years till he had his break out season. Messed up – give me a break…

      • Hard to BeLeaf - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:03 AM

        You think giving Steen (and Colaiacovo) away for Lee Stempniak wasn’t messed up?

  8. titansbro - Jun 28, 2014 at 6:51 AM

    He certainly has the most luxurious locks. Does that make him a better hockey player? Some would say yes.

  9. skunksprayjim - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:07 AM

    Poor Michal Nylander… I’d rather have a daughter who worked in a brothel than a son who plays for the Leafs.

    • Hard to BeLeaf - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:00 AM

      You do. She says “hi”.

  10. officialgame - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    I thought they drafted Justin Beiber when I saw him walking to the podium.

  11. thatguytml92 - Jun 28, 2014 at 8:30 AM

    I hope he can end up playing centre but either way he’ll be good, I think shanahan is going to make the right moves for the leafs going forward. We have skilled prospects at the forward position now, just need to start adding some shutdown defencemen and another goalie.

  12. jpat2424 - Jun 28, 2014 at 8:41 AM

    Nice pick

  13. snipedanglecelly13 - Jun 28, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    He looks like he’s 12….

  14. garybrian2014 - Jun 28, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Thought the Leafs were looking for a big JVR type of wing? So what happened?

    • Hard to BeLeaf - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:59 PM

      Leafs are literally the only team NOT looking for a JVR type winger.

  15. 19to77 - Jun 28, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    Figures that Joffrey Baratheon ends up a Leaf.

  16. sayingthetruthperiod - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    Robby Fabbri was the best no question

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