Ranked sixth is Alexander Nylander, left wing for the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL.
The third member of the Nylander family known for his impressive hockey talent, Alex has thus far lived up to what his pedigree suggests he can do. Coming to the OHL this season, Nylander, a left wing with a right shot, racked up 28 goals and 47 assists for 75 points in 57 games. In the playoffs, his output was even more impressive, with 6 goals and 6 assists for 12 points in 6 games. Despite his ridiculous hot streak, Nylander’s Steelheads were eliminated by the Barrie Colts in seven games. Nylander also has international experience, scoring 4 goals and 9 points in seven games while playing for Sweden in the World Juniors.
A recurring theme with top prospects, Nylander’s best asset is likely his skating, with blazing speed and quick acceleration. His first few steps are super fast, so he often beats opponents to loose pucks easily. He’s super agile and blows by enemy defenders like nobody’s business. He’s got good hands, too, and is able to deke around them if he’s unable to beat opponents with his speed alone.
Nylander is a smart playmaker and can pass very accurately, able to find a needle in a haystack. He’s got a great release on his shot, but at 180 pounds, he could stand to bulk up to get more power behind it, and to be able to protect the puck more effectively at the NHL level, though he does just fine in juniors. Nylander is a highly skilled talent with top lie NHL potential.
His offensive ability is top flight, but his backchecking could use a little work. Nylander’s positioning could be better, and he sometimes gets caught with his pants down, cheating to create scoring chances. Despite that, he does seem to make an effort, which should be seen as a sign that he’s willing to work on his defensive shortcomings.
It’s doubtful Nylander is available at 14, but if he is, the Bruins should consider scooping him up if they see the possibility of him improving his defensive game and beefing his frame up a bit. He’s incredibly skilled offensively and would add a lot to any team he plays for.