The William Nylander hype machine gained a little more steam on Thursday.
Nylander, Toronto’s first-round pick (eighth overall) at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, survived the second round of roster cuts and is now one of 41 players remaining at Leafs camp.
The 18-year-old forward — who has looked impressive throughout the preseason — remained with the big club over several forwards who made their NHL debuts last season, including David Broll, Jamie Devane and Gregg McKegg. All three were assigned to the AHL Marlies, along with 10 other players.
Nylander, the son of ex-NHLer Michael, has wowed onlookers with his skill, vision and hands. James van Riemsdyk said they’re “some of the quickest hands I’ve ever seen,” adding that Nylander “can stickhandle in a tollbooth.”
Nylander’s also done remarkably well in limited game action thus far.
On Wednesday, he finished with one assist in a shootout loss to the Senators while recording just over 14 minutes of ice time; that performance came after an impressive outing against Philly in which he scored his first-ever NHL (preseason) goal while recording a team-high five shots on goal.
Following the Philly game, Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle said “nobody can dispute that the skill set [Nylander] possesses is a little different and separates him from other players,” while praising the young Swede’s confidence.