Chosen 8th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, William Nylander wasn’t rushed into the NHL like top Maple Leafs draft picks of the past. Instead, the Leafs decided some AHL experience was best for development of the Swede.

In the AHL, Nylander continued to produce, leading to his eventual call up towards the end of the following season. In 2015/16, the Calgary native managed 13 points in 22 games in the NHL as a rookie. The following season Nylander still qualified as a rookie due to playing in less than 25 NHL games. In 2016/17, Nylander has been a key piece of the Leafs youth movement and a consistent producer all season.

Contributing 46 points in 64 games, Nylander always strives to be the best player on the ice. His totals thus far in his NHL career are very impressive and put him with some elite company. Below is a table comparing Nylander’s rookie season totals and career points-per-game to some of the NHL’s elite forwards.

Player Rookie Season Point Total Games Career PPG
Mackinnon 63 81 games 0.69
Eichel 56 81 games 0.77
Duchene 55 80 games 0.74
Nylander 59 86 games 0.69
Scheifele 34 67 games 0.73
Seguin 22 78 games 0.85

 

Statistically, Nylander’s rookie totals best even some of the NHL’s elite player’s rookie totals. This proves Nylander is headed towards a very promising career. Obviously Nylanders career PPG will be smaller due to currently playing in his rookie season, but these comparisons are very interesting.

Nylander has better rookie season statistics than Tyler Sequin, Mark Scheifele, and on near the exact same pace as Jack Eichel and Matt Duchene. Im not saying that Nylander will end up being better than any of the players listed, but statistics make you wonder. Once Nylander’s transition to centre is complete, the comparison will be easier to make with centres like Eichel, Duchene, and Scheifele due to positional similarity.

Moving Forward in Nylander’s Career

Moving forward in Nylanders career he will make the transition to centre, which could happen as early as next season or the following. When the transition is made, it is likely that he will become the 30 year old Tyler Bozak’s replacement. Down the stretch he is our second line centre option behind Auston Matthews. The Leafs were lucky to snag Nylander at 8th overall in 2014. Once his transition to centre is complete, Toronto will have three elite centres on the top three lines. As of right now fans simply need to be patient and watch it all fall into place, the Leafs are a future NHL dynasty.

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