It was announced Monday that the Toronto Maple Leafs have recalled 2014 first-round pick William Nylander from MODO of the
Swedish Elite League.
The move was announced ahead of the team’s first game of a four game road-trip that begins Wednesday in Los Angeles. The announcement was made via a press release from Nylander’s MODO club.
The 18-year-old will report to the team’s American Hockey League Affiliate the Marlies. In 21 games this season with MODO, Nylander has eight goals and 20 points. He is also coming off an impressive outing at the World Junior Hockey Championship where he finished in a tie for second place in tournament scoring with 10 points in seven games, just one back of Sam Reinhart, Connor McDavid, and Nic Petan for the tournament lead.
Statement from MODO
MODO’s general manager released a statement following the recall suggesting it was a bittersweet to have to part ways with Nylander and also insisted that the team tried to do its best to keep the young star with the team.
“This is unfortunately beyond our control when the rules of the transitions are written in this way,” said GM Per Svartvadet. “Of course we have done what we could to keep him in the organization since it is a skilled player, but the issue is controlled by SHL agreement.”
William Nylander has been recalled by the Leafs from Modo. He will report to the Marlies.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 12, 2015
A Spot With the Leafs is Possible
Though Nylander will report to the Marlies, injuries to the big club could allow for a spot on the team’s roster for Nylander if the team decides. The Maple Leafs continue to deal with injuries to centre Peter Holland and winger Joffrey Lupul. Holland remains week-to-week with an upper-body injury while Lupul is expected to be out until early February with a lower-body injury. Both have been out of the lineup since January 1.
Reasons Behind the Move
TSN’s hockey insider Darren Dreger believes the move to bring Nylander back to North America was in part because the Maple Leafs liked what they saw of the eight-overall pick in 2014 at the World Juniors, which were co-hosted in Toronto, as well as wanting to get him accustomed to the smaller ice surface.
Leafs liked Nylanders game at the World Juniors and want him to get comfortable with North American game. — Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 12, 2015
Meanwhile TSN’s hockey insider Bob McKenzie agrees and also suggests that the move is also in part to the coaching change which was made in MODO. Anders Forsberg had coached MODO, but was fired by the team on January 4. The team currently sits in last place in the SHL with just eight wins in 37 games this season.
It’s my understanding 2 reasons for move: 1. TOR wants him playing on smaller ice. 2. Situation in MoDo (coach fired recently) wasn’t ideal.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 12, 2015
The move to bring Nylander back closer to home suggests the team is at least getting prepared to move him up with the NHL club. The Maple Leafs sent the youngster to the SHL coming out of training camp with the hope that the son of former NHLer Michael Nylander would grow having the opportunity to play with men. And since he sits second in team scoring having missed 16 games with the club, he looks to have exceeded expectations.
The Maple Leafs have won just two of their past seven games and sit 10th overall in the Eastern Conference, so an offensive boost from Nylander could be a welcomed site in the near future.
Craig is an intern at The Hockey News where he has written for both the website and the magazine. He is also a featured-blogger at http://www.hockeyforums.net/index.php/blog/46-its-a-canadian-game/. Craig has an Honours in Journalism from Wilfird Laurier University and is currently completing the Sports Journalism Program at Centennial College. Follow him on Twitter @Craig_Hagerman.