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2014 NHL Draft Central


Nashville Predators Draft Targets – William Nylander

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Jun 17, 2014

2013-2014 Team(s): Södertälje (Allsvenskan), Rögle (Allsvenskan), MODO (SHL)

2013-2014 Stats: Södertälje – 17gp, 11g, 8a (19pts) | Rögle – 18gp, 4g, 4a (8pts) | MODO – 22gp, 1g, 6a (7pts)

Scouting Report Synopsis (via Hockey’s Future):

“Nylander’s strengths are many. He is incredibly strong at pivoting with speed, both with and without the puck. Can turn on a dime, but tends to curl at full speed while making very fluid crossovers so as to generate speed through primarily the neutral zone. Looks like an effortless skater at times. Very strong puckhandler who rarely loses the puck on his own accord. Can dangle and deke out opponents with ease and uses his body to protect the puck when opponents get physical. Has a long reach he uses to pull the puck along when necessary despite relative lack of size. Makes accurate, sometimes dazzling passes that lead viewers to wonder if he has eyes in the back of his head. Very good at finding teammates and threading the pass on a string. Excellent wrist shot, which he can take with great accuracy from the point on the power play. His overall hockey sense is special; shows a feeling and understanding for the game that few players seem to enjoy. Withstands physical pressure well and is rarely separated from the puck or even knocked around. Very confident and has shown that he can play a skill game, even against men. Also trusts and uses his shot with regularity, thus isn’t only a pass first player. Is a go-to player and teammates find a way to give him the puck as quickly as possible, just to then place themselves in a position to get a pass from him – that’s the gameplan.

As for weaknesses, Nylander’s shots can be blocked relatively simply and his pattern of moves does make him susceptible to opponent pokechecks. Generally a lightweight who is neither tall nor well-built in the muscular department, although this doesn’t prevent him from being highly effective and dangerous. Doesn’t always show vigor in backchecking. Desire for puck possession can slow down other teammates or cause them to regularly relocate themselves onsides.”

Why Nashville WOULD draft William Nylander:

There is zero question that Nashville could use a player of Nylander’s skill and talent. While he is listed as a center (as well as a right winger in certain scouting reports), Nylander is a gem that the Predators haven’t truly seen since drafting Alexander Radulov in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. With speed that nearly dwarfs every other player on the ice, he can skate into the zone, all the while maintaining puck possession, and find the back of the net in the same shift.

Nylander is a true “playmaker”, something Nashville truly needs. A role the organization was hoping a few of their previous draftees would ultimately develop into, drafting Nylander would provide them with a near-immediate NHL-ready talent. Another reason that Nashville would be crazy about a player like Nylander is his ability to shoot the puck. Not only can he enter the offensive zone at his own command and feed the puck to his teammates at will, but a player of his caliber that can do all of that and fires the puck on net at regular intervals is truly of a special breed. If the Predators have the chance at drafting Nylander, they’d be wise not to pass up the opportunity.

Why Nashville WOULD NOT draft William Nylander:

Most importantly, Nylander is a bit undersized. At 5’11”, Nylander would currently sit in the bottom third of rookie centers from this most recent NHL season. At 169 pounds, he’d also rank in the bottom five centers as well. Granted, if this is his only downfall, it’s not too much to worry about. While smaller sized forwards are often pushed around more so than forwards with a larger frame than Nylander has, I doubt Nashville would have any problems surrounding him with quality forwards that have the size to create a bit more room on the ice for him to work with.

Chance that Nashville drafts William Nylander:

Slim. Unless the Predators were to trade up on draft day or Nylander were to uncharacteristically fall down the board, Nashville’s chances at drafting an elite talent like Nylander are very small.

Photo Credit: sskoveralltalltid.se