Toronto Maple Leafs: William Nylander Finally Getting Results His Play Has Always Warranted

The Toronto Maple Leafs have points in nine straight games.

The Toronto Maple Leafs MVP during this run has been unquestionably William Nylander, who has goals in five straight games, 11 points in his last five games, and four straight multi-point games.

After some extremely bad luck, it’s nice to see William Nylander finally getting the results that he has long deserved.

A certain portion of the fanbase has wrongly, and arbitrarily chosen to dislike him, and that get’s more laughable by the day.   I wonder if there’s a section of the Panthers fan base who hates Jonathan Huberdeau, or a section of the Penguins fan base who hates Malkin?

Probably, but what can you do?

Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander

It’s nice to see Nylander get the results, but if you think his recent scoring streak has come out of nowhere, you haven’t been paying attention. His play has been great for years, and he’s only needed linemates, power-play time and some time not being one of the unluckiest players in the NHL to make it work.

He had 61 points in his rookie season.

As a sophomore, he became the only player in NHL history to equal a 60 point season with a 50% decline in PP points.  He finished just outside the top ten in 5v5 points that year.

Last year has been written about ad naseaum, but Nylander didn’t have the bad year he commonly gets credited with.  He led the Leafs in puck-possession, led the NHL in on-ice scoring chances per minute, and was among the best zone entry players in the NHL.

It’s not his fault his most common linemates were two guys scoring below fourth line rates.  (Marleau and Brown).  It’s not his fault his on-ice shooting percentage (the stat that drives public perception of players, but which is out of their control) was in the toilet.

And this year, Nylander – prior to his recent hot streak – was putting up some of the best 5v5 numbers in the NHL.   Among the league leaders in Corsi, Shot-Percentage, Scoring chance percentage and expected goals percentage.

From the first game of the season to the end of his three game point-less streak on December 14th, Nylander had a 56% CF, 56% Shots-for percentage, 55% scoring chance percentage and 54% expected goals.  (All stats naturalstattrick.com).

Those are elite numbers that strongly suggest a player will put up elite point totals.  Unfortunately for Nylander’s counting totals, he had an on-ice shooting percentage under 8%.

Since the start of his hot streak, it’s closer to 12%.   That makes a big difference.

For the season overall, Nylander is 9th among forwards in Corsi, 12th in shots-for percentage, 8th in goals-for percentage, 16th in expected-goals percentage, and 9th in scoring chances created. (550 minutes).

Nylander has better stats than Marner, Matthews or Tavares across the board.

Nylander is tied for 5th in 5v5 goals. He has 25 5v5 points, which is good for 16th in the NHL, but it is the 8th highest total in the league.

In total points (all situations) Nylander now has 38, which is 25th in the NHL and more than other young stars like Svechnikov, Barzal, Point or Tkachuk.

He’s done this with a very low on-ice shooting percentage and not being on the first power-play unit for over half the games so far.

What he have to conclude is that William Nylander is an elite player on his way to full superstar status.  He is showing that those who said he could one day challenge for a scoring title were not far off.

Not only is Nylander crushing it lately, but he’s been crushing it the whole time.  The important thing to remember here is that this isn’t just some random hot streak – he has played and put up numbers in a way that says this is how he should have been scoring the whole time.

Sure, he’s a little hot, and he’s not going to score two points per game, but he is definitely a point-per-game player, which makes him an elite scorer.

For those who’ve chosen Nylander as their symbol to represent how much they despise Kyle Dubas and his soft-but-smart version of hockey, it might be time to find someone else to randomly and arbitrarily despise.

Next: Leafs New Years Resolutions

The results are in, and Nylander is every bit the star player that Matthews, Marner and Tavares are.  To top it off, check out that chart above and revel in the  strong defensive metrics he’s also providing this season as well.

Without a doubt William Nylander has been the Toronto Maple Leafs best and most consistent player this season – it’s essentially inarguable unless you ignore all ways we have to measure a hockey player’s performance.

 

 

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