The Toronto Maple Leafs may have drafted their future number-one centre in William Nylander out of Modo of the Swedish Hockey League. Many pundits lauded Nylander as the most skilled player in the draft, so the Leafs should be thrilled he fell to eighth.
Here’s Nylander’s scouting report, via Gus Katsaros of McKeen’s Hockey:
William Nylander scouting report pic.twitter.com/m0zIwE1XT0
— Gus Katsaros (@KatsHockey) June 28, 2014
The pick still seems surreal to me, as Nylander was the guy I wanted the Leafs to take from the get-go, and that almost never happens. Brian Burke’s tendency was to take big, North American players in the first round; so many Leafs fans assumed Burke pupil Dave Nonis would follow the same mantra. But with hulking winger Nick Ritchie still on the board, Nonis surprised pretty much everybody by taking the smaller, skilled European.
The biggest need the Leafs have in their prospect ranks, in my opinion, is at centre. Beyond Nazem Kadri and Frederik Gauthier (who’s still at least a year away), there really isn’t much depth at that position. Filling that need with a player in Nylander who’s already played against men in Sweden and dominated competition his own age in international tournaments is a huge boost to the prospect ranks.