The Ontario Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year combines soft hands with a quick release and explosive speed.
Offensively creative, the swift-skating Alexander Nylander – younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs rookie forward William Nylander (selected eighth overall in 2014) and son of former Calgary Flame Michael Nylander (one of his coaches in Mississauga) – can also elevate his game when it matters most.
He impressively racked up a team-leading 12 points (six goals, six assists) in only six playoff games, which included a third period hat trick in Game 2 of his Steelheads’ first round series against the Barrie Colts.
Scouts have been consistently throwing around such labels as “competitor” and “high hockey IQ” when describing the Canadian-born Swede.
With his brother sidelined with a concussion at the World Junior Championships, Nylander was nothing less than stellar for Team Sweden as he dangled his way to a team-best nine points (four goals, five assists) and a plus-five rating in seven tournament games.
The fact that Nylander is a right-hand shot should be attractive to the Calgary Flames, who have been on the hunt to add – whether it’s at the draft or via free agency – a right winger to their top six.
The Flames, though, would likely have to be willing to play the patience game as a return to junior for seasoning is probable for the lanky 6-foot 180-pound winger.
Whatever the case, selecting Nylander anywhere after the sixth pick would be considered a steal for a player possessing his skill-set.