I made a mistake with my voting in the Top 25. As you’ll see below in the voting table I voted William Nylander #2 overall. I think I made a mistake.

I should have voted him #1.

Calm down and stop yelling.

Yes, Auston Matthews is an excellent hockey player and a centre; a position that needs to be strong for teams to succeed. He’s clearly deserving of holding a top-two spot for the eight years he’ll be eligible for this list. He isn’t however, someone who can handle the spotlight, and own up to mistakes. Neither for that matter is Mitch Marner, who is also ranked higher than William Nylander. All three of these top ranked players participated in one of the most embarrassing nights in Toronto Maple Leafs history - the EBUG game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

All three of them couldn’t score on the Leafs/Marlies practice goalie/Zamboni driver. All three couldn’t stop the Hurricanes from winning that game 6-3. All three of them were embarrassed after the game.

Only one of them, however, did more than hide at home the next day.

William Nylander was one of the few Maple Leafs players to show up for the optional practice the day after this game.

He didn’t hide in shame, he didn’t pretend it never happened. He got dressed, went to work, and put in an effort against the very man that embarrassed him.

Not Auston Matthews, not Mitchell Marner, not John Tavares, not Morgan Rielly. None of the players wearing leader patches on their jerseys was there. The “lazy, greedy, good for nothing pretty boy” was.

This year, William Nylander had his best season as a Maple Leaf yet. After last years dismal 0.5 points per game (7 goals, 20 assists, 54 games) in a season that wouldn’t begin until December, he rebounded with 31 goals, 28 assists in 68 games - 0.87 points per game. Four times as many goals, more than twice as many points (While taking one fewer penalty at that! Where’s his Lady Byng?).

Sadly, I did not have as much company in my high ranking of Nylander as I did in the past. Mitch Marner is growing his support each year, understandably at that, he’s quite the hockey player, but he is more expensive. Marner fetches $162,582.09 per point, while Nylander comes in at a mere $118,006.20 per point.

Such amazing savings, you’d think we got him from Bi-Way.

Votes - William Nylander

PlayerWilliam Nylander
2020 Rank3
Average Rank2.58
Lowest Rank3
Highest Rank2
Spread in Rank1
Total Votes12

While my writing about Nylander has been from the heart, my colleagues also need their space to explain why they ranked William so low.

Brigstew: I ranked Nylander because I think he is ready for a big turnaround year, while also thinking that Marner’s season last year isn’t quite as hot as some people think. I think Tavares and Marner make each other better the same way Matthews and Nylander do. We’ll see how each of Nylander and Marner do this year assuming they both have a full season on the team. Don’t @ me Rich Marner fans.

Arvind: I’ve spilled enough digital ink on Nylander over the course of this past year, so there probably isn’t a need for me to do much more, but here I am anyways. I still think Nylander is a solid 1st line winger - my biggest concern about him is that he’s had three straight years of mediocre shooting results at 5v5, and if he can’t sort that out, my projection of him as a 1st line winger is too rosy. Nonetheless, his play driving can’t be argued with, and the fit between him and Matthews is too perfect to deny any further. He’s a brilliant player.

Hardev: I like Nylander a lot. I think he has a diverse skill set and work ethic and has been able to be a major positive force everywhere he goes. I hope I can stop pumping his tires so much online this season because he’ll do that himself with that good ol’ shooting percentage. He has it in him to be “dominant” and I can’t wait to see it because when he’s on, there’s not many other players I like watching more than Willy Ny. He probably won’t score 90 points like I’ve been tweeting, but hey, one can only hope.

EDIT: The above were the comments from 2019, which were included by mistake. Those responsible have been held accountable, as we rule with an iron fist here at PPP. This year’s voter comments are below.

Species: First in pecs, third in under-25 Leafs hockey.

Katya: You know, I used to really believe in the Nylander plus Matthews magic. It was alchemy that violated the law of conservation of matter. And then he played with John Tavares. Maybe it’s Nylander himself who is magic. So, there’s two of them, and most of the time they both play RW, so we spend forever arguing over which is more nearly perfect. It’s the Crosby/Malkin story all over again. Maybe let’s not forget that Nylander is one of the top tier players in the NHL at 24, and there is no one at all gunning for his job. He’s just too good.

Brigstew: For the second year in a row I had Nylander ahead of Marner. Last year seemed like a write off, and I guessed he would have a great bounce-back year. I don’t think I saw him doing what he actually did though… he was superb. 31 goals in only 68 games is pretty great, and he was on a hell of a roll with Tavares. I know Marner has more points than Nylander, and I don’t really care. I basically rank them tied with each other according to my logical brain, but the tiebreaker goes to Willy because my heart loves him.

Hardev: I had Nylander ahead of Marner, too. I like goals and Willy’s just rounding into his form on that front, even while not having quite gotten his mid-range shot to land as much as was expected when he was a prospect. Credit to Marner for the points, but he got tiring on the power play for me this year. I wanted to see new things, not his slapshot. Nylander’s finally gotten on the power play and his mobility from the middle to the wings and in front is a great addition. I’d like to see him be the focal point of the power play at some point soon, he has the individual shot to make it work and all the playmaking ability. Marner wouldn’t look too bad on the bumper either.

Arvind: When William Nylander was drafted, the best-case scenario was that he would become an elite, complete offensive player. That is, he would be a triple-threat - a player who can carry the puck, pass it, and shoot it at a high level in the NHL. Last year, I wrote that as good as Nylander had been through his first three years, the last part of that triple-threat promise was simply not shining through. Nylander’s shooting in his first few seasons in the league could be described as average at best. He undershot his expected goals at 5v5 in each of his first three seasons, and while he made some of that back on the power play, his shooting was nowhere near the elite. And it’s hard to be a truly great offensive player without some degree of shooting talent. This year, that changed. Really, that’s the only thing that changed, because the rest of the William Nylander package was the same stuff as usual… elite transition play, strong play driving and penalty differentials, coupled with the occasional horrific defensive gaffe. What remains to be seen is how much of this shooting lift that he’s discovered is real, and how much is variance. If he can maintain being a solidly above average shooter, he starts knocking on the door of the top 30 forwards in the league. If he can’t, he’s ‘merely’ a good first liner. Either way, we’re in a good spot with him.

William Nylander is our #3 Maple Leaf under 25.

Again, I’m sorry Will.

Should William Nylander be our number one pick this year?

This is ridiculous reasoning and no.73
He’s very good, but you know, not as good.244
Absolutely yes.100
I’m sorry I was lost in his eyes, what was the question again?170