Tomas Monten, the head coach of Sweden’s World Junior Championship team, would love to have Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander available for the 2018 tournament in Buffalo.
He just doesn’t expect to have him.
Monten told Amy Moritz of the Buffalo News this weekend that he expects Nylander, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2016 draft, to have a spot on the Sabres roster and that they will not give him permission to play in the tournament.
“I don’t think so,” Monten said in USA Hockey Arena. “Of course if Buffalo wants him to play, we’re going to keep our door open. He for sure has a spot on our team but I think he’s going to make Buffalo this year. That’s why I didn’t bring him. We haven’t talked in the summer.
“Of course I’m going to ask Buffalo what they think. If he’s available, we’ll take him for sure but I don’t think he is. I think he’s going to play in Buffalo.”
Nylander only appeared in four games for the Sabres during the 2016-17 season, recording one assist. He spent the rest of the year playing for the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League where he finished with 10 goals and 18 assists in 65 games.
He was also one of the best players at the 2017 World Junior Tournament where he finished with 12 points, tied for the tournament lead.
Following the 2016-17 NHL season, and before the Sabres’ front office shakeup that saw them replace the general manager, coach, and several other personnel, the message from the team for Nylander to take the next step in his development was to “get stronger.”