The NHL draft is almost upon us with the first round set to get underway at 6pm tonight. Our look at the top prospects continues with Mississauga winger Alex Nylander.
Position: Right Wing/Left Wing
Birthdate: March 2, 1998
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta
Weight: 178 lbs
Nylander, the brother of Toronto prospect William Nylander, made his North American debut last season with the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads. He spent a big chunk of the year as part of an all-draft eligible trio alongside Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastian. He led the Steelheads in all offensive categories and then found another gear to his game in a first round exit to the Barrie Colts, scoring six goals and six assists in just six games.
He also suited up in the World Juniors and World Under 18’s for Sweden (while he was born in Canada, he plays internationally for the Swedes where his father is from). He led the team in scoring in both tournaments.
Nylander picked up several awards with Mississauga. Not only was he the OHL’s Rookie of the Year, he was also named the CHL’s Top Rookie (the CHL is comprised of the three major junior leagues, the WHL, OHL, and QMJHL). He was also named to the OHL’s All-Rookie Team and third All-Star Team.
OHL: 57 GP, 28 goals, 47 assists, 75 points, 18 PIMS, +8 rating
WJC’s: 7 GP, 4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points, 0 PIMS, +5 rating
U-18’s: 7 GP, 3 goals, 8 assists, 11 points, 0 PIMS, +5 rating
Nylander is one of the more pure skilled players in this draft class, at least at the offensive end. He is a high end playmaker and is extremely dangerous when the puck is on his stick. On top of that, his shot is a significant weapon, making him a true dual threat in the attacking end.
Nylander’s skating is a strong asset, one that makes him that much more dangerous in the offensive zone. He also uses that to his advantage when back checking in transition in terms of knocking the puck away from opponents.
In his own zone is where Nylander struggles. He’s not the most willing to go battle for the puck and when he does, his lack of strength can be an issue at times. He showed improvement throughout the year but in terms of making the right reads defensively but considerable work still needs to be done in that regard.
Projected Future Role
Top line winger.
Offensively, he’s close to being NHL ready. However, he still needs to build some strength while his defensive play isn’t good enough for the pros. He’s at least two years away and could be three or four depending on how quickly or slowly he improves in his own end.