Alexander Nylander

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PHT Morning Skate: Anonymous player poll; McKenzie’s pre-season draft rankings

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• The Montreal Canadiens have stocked their roster with former first-round draft picks. There are currently 13 of them with them in training camp. (Montreal Gazette)

• Speaking of Canadiens first-rounders, Jesperi Kotkaniemi scored a goal during his first preseason game at the Bell Center. He’s starting to look more and more comfortable on North American ice. (Sportsnet)

• The Ottawa Senators have a new assistant general manager, and his name is Peter MacTavish. (Canadian Press)

• Speaking of the Sens, GM Pierre Dorion insists that despite all the drama, they’re still headed on the right track. (CBC.ca)

• Sabres prospect Alexander Nylander‘s professional career has gotten off to a slow start, but he was outstanding during Monday’s preseason game against Columbus. (Buffalo News)

• The Chicago Blackhawks have changed up their power play structure so that it looks a little bit more the one Washington ran last season. (NBC Sports Chicago)

• TSN hockey insider Bob Mckenzie came out with his pre-season draft rankings already. To no ones surprise, Jack Hughes is at the top of the list. (TSN.ca)

• The Sharks welcomed Erik Karlsson to San Jose with a huge billboard and an ad in the local newspaper. (NHL.com)

• Even though it’s unclear if NHL players will be going to the 2022 Olympic Games in China, commissioner Gary Bettman is committed to growing the game there. (Inside the games)

• TSN’s Frank Seravalli conducted an anonymous player poll. It sounds like certain NHLers believe that the Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres will get things turned around pretty quickly this season. (TSN.ca)

• Many players on the New Jersey Devils surpassed their expected goal totals from last season, but what will they have in store for us in 2018-19? (All about the jersey)

• Hurricanes forward Victor Rask injured himself in the kitchen, which is really unfortunate. He’s expected to miss “months,” according to Rod Brind’Amour, so it’ll be up to players like Lucas Wallmark to step up. (Canes Country)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Sweden WJC coach expects Alexander Nylander to make Sabres’ roster

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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.”

Nylander figures to be one of the Sabres’ building blocks for the next few years alongside recent No. 2 overall picks Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart.