The 2014 NHL Entry Draft is coming up June 27-28 and while the Stanley Cup Playoffs may still be ongoing, there’s no time like the present to get to know some of the top prospects available. While this draft is consider to be weak in regards to instant NHL talent, there are still top-tier players that will eventually be household names to hockey fans everywhere.
Once again, we have partnered with International Scouting Services (ISS) to bring you a scout’s take on the players they’ve ranked in their top five. Dennis MacInnis, Director of Scouting with ISS Hockey, will be giving us a breakdown of each of these players and why they will be great. If you want more information on these top prospects, make sure to visit ISSHockey.com and purchase their draft guide.
Below, we spoke with Dennis on William Nylander who is currently playing with MODO in the Swedish Hockey League. Nylander is currently ranked fifth in the ISS Hockey Top 30.
Born – May 1, 1996
Birthplace – Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Position – Center
Shoots – Right
Height – 5’11”
Weight – 176 lbs
Penalty Box Radio: Briefly describe what makes Nylander’s skill-set unique from others in the draft:
Dennis MacInnis: Nylander possesses incredible creativity and skill-set on the puck as he thinks the game two steps ahead of everyone else. [He has the] puck on a string in the offensive zone as he combines dynamic tempo, flash and strong possession for a player of his stature. An offensive dynamo in every sense of the word.
PBR: What three teams that did not make the playoffs could benefit most from drafting William Nylander and why?
DM: Carolina, Winnipeg and Nashville could benefit in a big way by drafting the likes of Nylander… although the Jets and Predators may be outside of his range. Their systems are in need of an elite offensive talent who can potentially shape himself into one of the more dynamic offensive talents in the league.
PBR: What current NHL player would Nylander be similar to once he reaches his prime?
DM: Nylander shows a lot of similar traits and playing style to that of Henrik Zetterberg. Incredible patience, composure on the puck while thinking the game ahead of the play. Possesses great hands, ability to carry and possess the puck through traffic while displaying elite vision to setup his teammates. Offensive weapons are dangerous.
PBR: What ability does Nylander have that would strike fear into opponents?
DM: Relentless speed on the puck and explosive stride combined with his highlight reel, slick hands make defenders look silly on a consistent basis. [He] does everything with ease on the puck and will make you pay if you give him an inch of space in the offensive zone.
PBR: Can you see him playing immediately in the 2014-2015 NHL season? If not, how far away is he?
DM: Nylander is a prospect who will benefit greatly from playing another full season in the SHL before making the NHL jump. He needs further physical development to reach the next level and be a consistent threat… whether that’s one year or two he needs time.
If you’d like to learn more about William Nylander and other top prospects, please visit ISShockey.com. Their draft guides can help get you prepared for the draft all year long. You can also follow them on Twitter @ISSHockey.