Monday, January 11, 2016

2016 NHL Draft Preview: Alexander Nylander

Welcome to the newest edition of my look at 2016 draft-eligible prospects.

Alexander Nylander
Height: 6’0"
Weight: 194 lbs
Position: RW/LW
Shoots: Right
Team (League): Mississauga Steelheads (Ontario Hockey League)
ISS rank: 6
CSS rank: A (no rankings released)
FC rank: 7
THN rank: NA
DTJ rank: 7

Current Statline for 2015-2016 Season:  34 GP, 22G 28A 50P 6PIM, +8, 1.47 Points/Game

Another high-potential 2016 draft-eligible Steelhead, Alexander Nylander is the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs' prospect (and 2014 1st round selection), William Nylander. Now, seeing that this is a write-up about Alexander, that's all I going to say about William. Both are phenomenal prospects. Alexander decided to take the CHL route to the NHL and signed with the team who selected him 12th overall in the 2015 CHL Import Draft, the Mississauaga Steelheads (one more thing about William, he was selected 13th overall in the 2014 CHL Import Draft by the Steelheads as well, but chose to stay in the Swedish Hockey League for his draft-eligible season.

Alexander Maximiliam Michael Junior Nylander Altelius is an exceptionally skilled player who is 2nd in rookie OHL scoring this season. The young Swedish forward has an excellent combination of hands, creativity, and quickness. Playing on the top-line for the Trout with other 2016 draft-eligible forwards Nathan Bastian and Michael McLeod, Nylander doesn't look out of place at all. In fact, he's adjusted quite quickly and well to North-American ice and is not only a driver of the play on the ice, but he's the leading scorer for the team. Alex has a remarkable shot, skates extremely well - he moves around the ice so well. His balance while handling the puck or avoiding a check is very impressive as well.

Nylander's ability to distribute the puck is excellent as well, and some would argue he is a better play-maker than sniper. He is a threat for offensive chances nearly every time he is on the ice. He's excellent at driving possession and also driving the pace of play. He mainly plays on the Left wing for the Trout, and I believe that if he is to make an impact at the NHL-level, it will be on the left side.

Nylander's main area for improvement is his defensive play. Not that it's a liability, but his 200-foot game is sometimes over-exaggerated simply because having McLeod on the same line will help cover up any mistakes he makes. His positional awareness and overall knowledge of the ice help give him the foundation for growth in his defensive game, so that doesn't quite concern me. It just needs some work.

Alexander Nylander's specialty really comes where his speed and fast-tempo offense can be shown, and this is mainly in the transition game. This is what leads me to believe that he will also be on the Devils' radar. The main reasons for this would be his immense skating ability, slick puck distribution skills, strong transition game, and excellent shot. He certainly does have top-6 potential, and possibly a ceiling of being a top-line winger...most likely on the left side. I'd say an interesting style comparison for Nylander would be a Loui Eriksson-type.

Nylander has the potential to go in the Top 5 selections in the June draft. I think he'll go anywhere from 4-9th overall. He played remarkably at the World Junior Championship in Helsinki this year, and lead Team Sweden in overall points. He finished in the top-10 in scoring for the tournament. A major increase in his draft stock happened at the 2014-2015 WHC-U17 where Nylander, once again, led Team Sweden in scoring and finished in the top-10 scoring for the entire tournament. Nylander ups his game at big events, and despite some potential issues with consistent effort on the ice, I think that if he puts his all into it, he will become an excellent NHLer.
 I am very interested in following the rest of Nylander's season in Mississauga, and I hope he can continue to develop into the elite, offensive winger he has the potential to be. I hope you enjoyed my write-up of Alexander Nylander! If you have any feedback, suggestions, or players you’d like to see my write about, please let me know!

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