The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that they have acquired forward Alexander Nylander (NEE-lan-duhr) from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for defenseman Henri Jokiharju. Nylander's contract has an AAV of $863,333 and is signed through the 2020-21 season.
Nylander, 21, recorded four points (2G, 2A) in 12 games with the Sabres during the 2018-19 campaign. He also registered a career-high 12 goals and matched a career-high with 19 assists in 49 games with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.
Selected in the first round (8th overall) of the 2016 National Hockey League Draft, Nylander made his NHL debut on April 3, 2017 vs. Toronto. Spanning three seasons (2017-19) with Buffalo, he notched three markers and three helpers in 19 games. In 165 career regular-season games with Rochester, Nylander scored 86 points (30G, 56A), while also playing in three Calder Cup Playoff games.
A Swedish native, Nylander helped his country to a silver medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. He was named as a Top Three Player on Sweden after sharing the team lead with seven points (1G, 6A) during the tournament. At the 2017 World Juniors, Nylander was named to the tournament's All-Star Team, sharing first among all skaters with 12 points (5G, 7A) in seven games. He had nine points (4G, 5A) in seven games at the 2016 World Junior Championships, while also helping Sweden to a silver medal at the 2016 IIHF U18 World Championship. Nylander's 28 points (10G, 18A) in 21 career U20 World Junior Championship games shares fourth in Team Sweden history.
Born in Calgary, Alberta, Nylander played one season (2015-16) for the Mississauga Steelheads of the Ontario Hockey League. During that season, he led all OHL rookies with 47 assists and 75 points en route to being named the OHL Rookie of the Year and CHL Rookie of the Year. Additionally, he was named to the OHL First All-Rookie Team, OHL Third All-Star Team and to the CHL Top Prospects Game.
Alex's father, Michael, played for the Blackhawks from 1999-2002. In 239 career games with Chicago, Michael had 180 points (63G, 117A). He also skated in five postseason games with the Blackhawks, tallying three assists. He played 15 years in the NHL, skating in 920 regular-season games while tallying 679 points (209G, 470A). His brother, William, just completed his fourth season with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Jokiharju made his NHL debut during the 2018-19 season, skating in 38 games and registering 12 assists.