William Nylander has been on fire in the early season for the Leafs.
For a player that was subject to a high degree of criticism for a significant time, let’s appreciate what he has done thus far.
His overtime winner against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday secured the win and gave him 21 goals and 19 assists for 40 points in just 35 games. These marks are good for first on the team in goals and tied for second in points.
WILLIAM NYLANDER 🚨
OVERTIME WINNER pic.twitter.com/wI32M3gXYC
— Omar (@TicTacTOmar) December 28, 2022
This play, to me, displays the best aspects of Nylander’s game. Obviously, his offensive abilities are outstanding — skating, hands, and finishing ability. However, an underrated aspect of Nylander’s game is his ability to generate turnovers in both the offensive and defensive zones. He is currently listed as being third on the team in takeaways, behind only Matthews and Marner. Here, he reads Tarasenko perfectly, stripping him of the puck and immediately generating an offensive opportunity.
It’s not as if this is some unpredictable breakout – Nylander has finished just below a point per game in each of the past three seasons. However, the valuable development this season has been his jump in goal scoring. Currently, Nylander is on pace for 48 goals over 82 games. This mark would be good for a 14-goal career high.
Goal scoring is obviously an incredibly important element of any team. For the Leafs this season, however, Nylander’s increased production in this area has been of particular importan …
Author: Colin Hunter / The Leafs Nation