Toronto - June 27, 2014 - With the 8th overall pick in this year’s NHL draft the Toronto Maple Leafs selected C/RW William Nylander. Nylander is 18 years old and spent his junior career in Sweden. He also won a Gold medal with Sweden in the World U-17 Hockey challenge.
In a draft that was fraught with trade rumours and on a day that started with Ryan Kesler being traded to Anaheim, there was no movement at the top of the draft board. Florida opted to keep their first overall pick and selected Barrie Colt’s defenseman Aaron Eckblad.
The Toronto Maple Leafs wound up staying put at 8th overall, and selected William Nylander, son of former NHLer Michael Nylander who played 20 years in the NHL. William Nylander could well be the most skilled offensive player in the draft; a clear change in strategy from the Leaf’s previous draft. The choice to pass on 6’2, 225lb Nick Ritchie, and select the 5’11, 170lb William Nylander shows a clear change in mindset from the Leaf’s management team.
The Swedish-Canadian Nylander is noted for having quick hands and feet that make him a gifted offensive weapon. His ability to pass the puck is among the best. His great hockey intelligence, speed and acceleration draw many comparisons to Chicago Blackhawk winger Patrick Kane.
Leaf faithful should be pleased with this pick and what it means for their team. The Leafs added unique talent and skill, and now a have clearer vision of where this team is going. Dion Phaneuf was not traded, nor was Nazem Kadri or Jake Gardiner. The core of this team remains intact while a unique offensive talent was added. There are still many questions surrounding the Blue and White, but for now Leaf nation can breathe easy.
Rob was born in Toronto's East end and has been a Maple Leaf fan his entire life. He is currently a student at York University in Toronto and is studying writing. He has always loved the blues and sports of all kind. If you have any questions, feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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