Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NHL Draft: Grading Toronto Maple Leafs First-Round Pick William Nylander


While the beloved craziness of the 2014 NHL Draft continues the Toronto Maple Leafs made the safe and right pick in selecting Swedish forward William Nylander, a scoring machine who posted 25 points for the Swedish U18 team and put pretty decent numbers when playing for Modo in the SHL.

Everyone had Dave Nonis picking big winger Nick Ritchie, who some fans were strongly against with more skilled players on the board. Nylander can play either centre or wing so if he does play for the Leafs right away, a line of Nylander-Nazem Kadri-Joffrey Lupul could be lethal and important in developing Nylander as a top forward. Of course, a stint with the Toronto Marlies would not hurt either. Finally, it has seemed that Dave Nonis has made a good decision instead of forcing Leafs fans to rip their hair out.

The Leafs might well be looking at their future number-one centre and how fitting it would be for  as their last true number-one was Swedish legend Mats Sundin, who carried the team on his back for most of his career.

Obviously it is way to early to really tell how this young and talented forward will turn out for the Leafs, which makes grading a player who you have hardly seen difficult and somewhat confusing. But he is the most talented player in the draft and the Leafs management team were actually competent enough to grab him at number eight. Biggest steal of the draft? Could very well possibly be and the Leafs freaking did it.

I would give the Leafs an A+. Everyone thought the obvious pick would be Nick Ritchie and Nonis came through in drafting Nylander. Now the development stage comes in as Nylander starts his career as a Toronto Maple Leaf.

Draft Grade: A+

Tags: 2014 NHL Draft Toronto Maple Leafs William Nylander

  • Stan Smith

    What the heck? The guy is talented but at 5′ 9″ and 169 he is a virtual midget.

    • Juniordosmike

      He´s 5´11, 181 pounds. 18 years old, will probably put on some more weight and possibly grow a little bit more.

      • Stan Smith

        Got the info off of hockeydb. Sorry.

        • Andrew

          He grew a couple inches this year (Nonis has been quoted saying that everywhere), so my guess is that those who are saying he is 5’9 have old information.

      • Stan Smith

        Just read an article on CBC that says 5’9″ and 169 but still growing. I sincerely hope so.

      • Tim Bayer

        Eliteprospects tends to inflate weight quite a bit I find. Hockey’s Future has him at 5-11, 169.

  • jntoronto

    He’s actually 5’11″

  • A13276

    Can you say Patrick Kane!

  • Andrew

    I’m neutral about the pick as I haven’t seen enough of him and really had hoped the Leafs would get Virtanen who I have seen a lot of. But, there is no way in hell he will play on a line with Kadri and Lupul. That would be the smallest and least defensively responsible line in hockey. My guess is that he spends a year with the Marlies anyway. The development will be great for him long term. Hopefully the Leafs find a way to get Eric Stahl (that rumour has been around forever, so probably won’t happen, but maybe for Phaneuf, Kadri, and a prospect could do it) as that is the type of C that I think Nylander would be most effective with. Stahl could open a ton of ice for him (as he has done for Skinner) and allow him to play 10 pounds heavier. He’ll need a big C to get his full potential out of him.