Vancouver Canucks 2016 NHL Draft Profile: W Alexander Nylander

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks are preparing for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft — and so are we.

Unfortunately, the 2015-16 season was cut short for the Vancouver Canucks, which means we have a long offseason ahead of us. Canucks GM Jim Benning and his staff will use the time to prepare next season’s roster, and the 2016 NHL Entry Draft will certainly play an important part in that process.

Vancouver started off strong in the fall of 2015 but ended the season with a thud. Thanks to their abysmal 28th rank in the league standings, the Canucks own seven picks early in each round. Benning did a great job in his first two years at the job and another successful draft could certainly help boost the rebuild.

Here at The Canuck Way, we will do our best to prepare you for the upcoming event by profiling as many draft-eligible players as we possibly can. Keep in mind that we are not saying these are players the Canucks are targeting. Instead, these are players that we think the Canucks could or should have interest in.

Today we will take a look at a potential first-round option for the Canucks: Mississauga Steelheads winger Alexander Nylander.

Embed from Getty Images

Name: Alexander Nylander

Position: Right Wing/Left Wing

Shoots: Right

Height, weight: 6’0”, 176 lbs

Team/League: Mississauga Steelheads, OHL

Stats (from 







NHL CSS Ranking: 3rd (North American Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 2/5, 4.5/5

NHL-potential: First-Line Winger

Draft Range: Top 10

Scouting report

"The son or former NHLer Michael Nylander, Alexander is a dynamic skating offensive catalyst that just produces points. His skating can go from effortless to shifty as he has the ability to use his edges to deke or juke through traffic with ease. Possesses soft hands and very creative puck skills plus the ability to make his teammates better with some jaw dropping passes. He is not a one trick pony however as he can also finish off plays. Top line NHL potential. – Future Considerations, November, 2015"


Alexander Nylander is the son of former NHL forward Michael and brother of Toronto Maple Leafs prospect William. This year, he might end up being the highest-picked player of the family, as he combines skating, playmaking and scoring ability to form an extremely exciting player.

More from Canucks News

Nylander lays the foundation for his game with his tremendous skating ability. His first strides are very strong, allowing him to reach top speed quickly and rush past defensemen. In addition, he possesses excellent mobility and can change directions quickly, allowing him to move through his opponents even in the tightest space.

The combination of great hockey sense and vision allow Nylander to always make the right decisions when he has the puck. Better yet: he also has the skill to put his ideas into action. He sees the ice well and plays accurate passes, making him a dangerous playmaker. However, he also knows how to finish plays and possesses a pro-level release.

Nylander is incredibly creative which makes it extremely hard to prepare for what he will do next. Much like his brother, he likes to hang on to the puck for a long time, at least until he sees an opening to skate into or play a successful pass. Or perhaps he’ll just lets a shot go before the goalie could even see it coming — you never know.


Nylander has a decent frame but it would certainly not hurt to add some strength to it. He succeeds in shielding the puck from his opponents at the junior level, but it is questionable if he could do the same in the NHL. On the bright side, puck skills or skating won’t stand in his way.

Another weakness is his defensive game. Nylander is mostly offensively oriented and does not seem to like playing defense too much. However, he is willing to learn the defensive positioning and how to read the game in his own end, and he seems well coachable.

Connected to that is his backchecking ability which could certainly be better.

Final Thoughts

Alex Nylander’s skill certainly puts him in the top tier of offensive players in this year’s draft. His style has been compared to Patrick Kane, which is not a bad comparison at all, though you should not expect Nylander to have as much potential or success in the NHL.

Still, if he gets his defensive game under control — and so far it looks like he will — he will be an outstanding NHL player. He can score goals just as well as he sets them up, so he can be extremely dangerous at every level.

It looks like Pierre-Luc Dubois, Matthew Tkachuk and Olli Juolevi are the favourites to be picked fifth-overall by the Vancouver Canucks. However, the Canucks will need an elite scorer for the left wing sooner or later, and Nylander could be that guy.

Next: More 2016 NHL Draft Profiles

The Canucks have had a lot of success with Swedish players — Markus Naslund and the Sedin twins come to mind — so why not?

Dubois can play center, is bigger and plays a better defensive game, Tkachuk plays with more grit and is also more responsible defensively. If the Canucks want an elite skater with elite skill and offensive upside, they could well opt for Nylander, though.