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Leafs believe Nylander is as good as advertised

Jul 20, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

2014 NHL Draft - Portraits Getty Images

After the 2014 NHL Draft, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis gushed that William Nylander “might be the most skilled player” of all 210 players selected. Seeing the eighth overall pick in action during the Maple Leafs’ prospects camp did little to kill that excitement, as the Toronto Star reports.

“He is as advertised,” Leafs assistant coach Steve Spott said. “The only thing he has to work on is getting bigger and stronger and that’s going to come in time.”

Indeed, the Maple Leafs do seem concerned about the 18-year-old prospect (and son of former NHL player Michael Nylander) being too small to handle the rigors of high-level hockey. lists Nylander at 5-foot-11, 169 lbs. Even if he beefs up during the offseason, it’s understandable if the Leafs take a cautious approach with the talented forward.

As Nylander told earlier this week, his goal is to make the jump right away. Beyond growing up around the sport, he also grew up quite a bit last season playing for Modo in Sweden.

“Playing against men might’ve helped me a bit,” Nylander said. “I haven’t been at the NHL level yet, so maybe it’ll probably give me a little bit of an advantage against guys that have been playing junior. Otherwise it’ll be a tough step.”

The opportunity could be there, at least, as team exec Brendan Shanahan notes that there’s “possibly” a job to be won (whether it be by Nylander or another NHL hopeful).

For more on some of the standout Maple Leafs prospects, check out the Toronto Star’s rundown.

  1. quinner17 - Jul 20, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    Must me tough being a Leaf fan. This team will be spinning it’s wheels for years to come

    • mykem07 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:13 AM

      Did you even read the article?

      • alliceishome - Jul 21, 2014 at 2:02 AM

        Leaf-trollers aren’t big on ‘reading’

  2. snipedanglecelly13 - Jul 20, 2014 at 11:52 PM

    Is that a 14 year old?

  3. 34defense2014 - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:38 AM

    Bulk up kid and you’ll be fine! 190 to 195 sounds about right!

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:16 AM

      What’s crazy is 190-195 is a 25-30lb weight gain. He better be good at rolling off of checks because one good hit from a 200+ lb guy and he’ll need to see a doctor.

      • Hard to BeLeaf - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:49 PM

        That’s pretty much true for anyone though. One good hit from a 200+ lb guy and even a Zdeno Chara sized player could need a doctor.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:34 PM

        I’d say there’s a greater likelihood that a twig like Nylander gets injured than a 260 lb giant like Chara, but your point is taken.

  4. sabatimus - Jul 21, 2014 at 5:40 AM

    All he needs is a sneer and he’d look like Joffrey Baratheon.

    • wutangwild - Jul 21, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      lol I was about to say the same thing, they look exactly alike. Hopefully Nylander has a better disposition than the late Joffrey

  5. quinner17 - Jul 21, 2014 at 5:55 AM

    Truth hurts…..and leaf trollers…you mean the rest of the league? 1967

    • Hard to BeLeaf - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      Funny thing is in the 21 years since a Canadian team won a cup, Toronto’s been to more Conference Finals than any other Canadian team… which says a lot about the other teams, considering the Leafs made the playoffs once in the last decade.

      Truth hurts, so you Trolls will whine.

  6. lightning79 - Jul 21, 2014 at 7:50 AM

    Patrick Kane debut in the NHL at 163lbs. I’m sure this guy could do it, if the Leafs think he’s ready. The Leafs might be better off letting him play another year in Europe or the OHL, let him develop his game a little bit, get him to add a few pounds.

  7. djshnooks - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    What else are they gonna say, “he’s a mess out there?” Typical GM speak, everyone loves the first rounder right now and “everyone has a chance to make it.”

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