The Buffalo Sabres have called up 2016 first round draft pick, eighth overall, Alex Nylander. He will make his NHL debut tonight, as the Sabres face-off against the Toronto Maple Leafs. A familiar face will be on that Leafs’ team, as he will see older brother William Nylander, when he looks across the ice.
Alex Nylander: "It’s kind of crazy that I’m playing against my brother in my 1st game. I’m just super excited & very pumped for tonight."
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) April 3, 2017
Buffalo Sabres Call-Up Alex Nylander, Will Make NHL Debut
Alex Nylander has spent the season playing for the Rochester Americans in the AHL. Despite being one of the youngest players in the league, he has performed well. Nylander has put up nine goals, 18 assists and 27 points in 62 games for the Americans.
With the Sabres well out of a playoff spot, they will get a look at one of their top prospects over the last week of the season.
Alexander Nylander is a tremendous skater. He has top notch speed and great acceleration, as he is able to reach that top gear in just a few strides. Nylander has the ability to fool defenders by dropping his shoulder and exploding past them to the outside. Add in his excellent agility and the ability to change directions extremely quickly, as well as top notch stickhandling ability and he can be a nightmare for defencemen off the rush. Nylander could stand to bulk up, especially in his lower body, which would allow him to be stronger on the puck and in board battles.
An excellent playmaker, Nylander has the ability to handle the puck as well as make precise passes while moving at top speed. His wrist shot features a quick release, but he must add some upper body strength in order to add more power to that shot going forward. Once he does it will allow him to become a sniper in addition to his current skills as a playmaker. Nylander already possesses the soft hands to finish plays in tight to the net, as well as the instincts to get open in the zone and get his shot off.
Nylander’s great vision and good hockey sense also make him a dangerous player when the play is in the offensive zone. He almost always makes the right play with the puck, and can thread the needle through small openings when passing to teammates. Nylander’s top notch stick handling allows him to protect the puck in junior, and will be useful going forward; but he must add more bulk to really succeed in being able to play the cycle game when facing bigger opponents in the pros.
Nylander also has to work on being more conscientious on the back check and not cheat to create offensive chances. His defensive game is a bit of a work in progress, but he seems to be eager to learn and he could go a long way with the proper coaching. Once he learns proper positioning and how to read the play defensively, he should be able to play a solid game in his own end of the rink.