Top NHL draft prospect William Nylander is no stranger to the NHL scene. His father, Michael Nylander, played over 900 NHL games in his career with seven teams. William was born in Calgary, AB in 1996 during the time his father played for the Calgary Flames.
“We’d go in the locker room after the games, we’d go to the practice facility so there’s a lot of big memories from when I was growing up,” William said.
Now that it is William’s turn to try his hand at professional hockey, his father has been there every step of the way.
“He’s always there. He helps me a lot, both in the gym and talking about hockey daily. He’s been a big help to me.”
William also played alongside his father with Rogle of the Sweden 1st Division. He lived and played in North America until he was 14. He then moved to Sweden.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound forward is one of the more intriguing prospects offensively at the top of this year’s draft rankings. Nylander ranks second amongst European skaters by NHL Central Scouting, while International Scouting Services ranks him fifth overall.
“I’m an offensive player,” he said. “I like to score goals and make plays.”
He bounced around some this season, posting 27 points (15-12-27) in 35 games with Rogle and seven (1-6-7) in 22 with Modo. At the under-18s, Nylander crushed the competition with 16 points (6-10-16) in seven games.
Playing against men, Nylander still flashed the skills it takes to be a top draft prospect. His offensive presence is something that just comes natural.
“It’s something that’s always been there. I don’t know what makes me play like that. I guess it’s just something I have inside of me.”
Nylander drew a lot of interest from teams at the NHL Scouting Combine. In total, 28 teams interviewed the skilled forward. He is expected to be selected just outside the top four or five picks. After speaking with teams, Nylander says he’s got a very good idea of where he’ll go and while he didn’t say where that was, you can tell he wants it to be towards the top.
“I set high goals for myself so I’d like to go as high as I can.”