According to OHLInsiders, Alex Nylander is expected to use a loophole in the AHL agreement to head to Rochester and play for the Buffalo affiliate next season. Nylander, 18, was drafted from the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, and would normally not be allowed to join the minor-league until he turned 20. He’s not a normal OHL player however, as according to The Hockey News he played all of last season on loan from his original Swedish club. Nylander then qualifies as a European player, and is allowed to become a professional whenever the Sabres want him to.
The tweet compares the situation to a similar one in Dallas two years ago, when the Stars sent their first round pick, Julius Honka, to the AHL the season after his draft. Just 18 at the time, Honka had played his draft year with the Swift Current Broncos of the WHL on loan like Nylander.
Alex’s brother William Nylander, currently playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, also entered the AHL as an 18-year old two seasons ago after coming over from MODO in Sweden. He made his debut last season at just 19, something Alex will try to match – he already matched William’s draft number at 8, why not follow his older brother’s path to the NHL, at least somewhat.
For Buffalo, sending Nylander to Rochester will allow him to test his game at a professional level against men, instead of dominating the junior ranks. He could also still head back to his native Sweden to play in the Elite League, another option where he would be playing against older competition.