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Nylander wins OHL rookie of the year

Top 2016 NHL Draft prospect had 75 points for Mississauga

by Mike G. Morreale @MikeMorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

Mississauga left wing Alexander Nylander, No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, was named the 2016 Ontario Hockey League rookie of the year Monday.

Nylander (6-foot, 180 pounds) led all OHL rookies and finished 19th in the league with 75 points in 57 games, scoring 28 goals and 47 assists. The 18-year-old also set a new record for points by a rookie at Mississauga and is the first player in franchise history to win OHL rookie of the year.

"It's a great honor to be selected rookie of the year," Nylander told the OHL website. "I couldn't do this without my teammates, coaching staff and I thank the Steelheads for the opportunity."

Nylander earned 84 of a possible 95 voting points ahead of North Bay defenseman Cam Dineen, No. 39 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, and Sault Ste. Marie left wing Boris Katchouk, No. 25 on Central Scouting's final ranking. Dineen and Katchouk each tied for second with 30 points each. London left wing Matthew Tkachuk, No. 2 on Central Scouting's North American ranking, was ineligible for the award due to his 1997 birthday. Tkachuk finished fifth in the OHL with 107 points (30 goals, 77 assists). 

"Alex made a seamless transition into the OHL, quickly becoming a key member of our hockey club and a valued teammate," Mississauga general manager and coach James Boyd said. "His exciting style of play thrilled our fans all season long. Alex is a focused player who is willing to put the work in to get better every day and is extremely deserving of this special award."

Nylander is the brother of Toronto Maple Leafs center William Nylander, and son of former NHL player Michael Nylander. He was recognized in the Eastern Conference coach's poll as the second-best stick-handler, second-best shootout scorer, and for having the third-best shot.

"He's just a dynamic offensive player," said Central Scouting's Matt Ryan, who specializes in OHL players. "He has an ability to create offense whether it's on the rush or off the cycle and his shot and playmaking ability are great. He really has an ability to effect the game in so many ways offensively."

Nylander led Sweden with four goals and nine points in seven games at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland, in January.

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