3 Reasons Why Nylander Will Improve in 2019-20
It’s no secret William Nylander had a difficult season. From a statistical standpoint as well as watching him play, he didn’t look like himself. As a hockey player myself, I know that players go through ups and downs throughout their career. This is part of the reason why I truly believe he will improve this coming season. This past season, the Toronto Maple Leafs forward accumulated 27 points in 54 games played which is good for a 41-point pace. Clearly, this still makes for a very good player, but Nylander has shown many reasons why he can be much better. With the upcoming season less than three months away and Mitch Marner’s contract situation still not sorted out, he must improve from last season, and I think he will. Here are three reasons why Nylander is bound to have an improved season with the Maple Leafs.
Nylander had a career-low shooting percentage in 2018-19
Last year, Nylander had a career-low shooting percentage of 5.4%. This led him to only contribute to seven of the team’s goals all season. If he were to have an equivalent shooting percentage as 2017-18 (10.9%) and the same amount of shots, he would have earned himself 14 goals (Keep in mind he only played 54 games last season). Assuming Nylander gets back on track, it is not unrealistic to see him hit 30 goals for the first time in his young career.
He started to improve near the end of the season
Nylander had a rough start to his season which happened to start in December because of long-winded contract negotiations. He finally signed one just minutes before the Dec 1 deadline. Although he may have had a rough start, I was relieved when it became clear he was beginning to play like himself again towards the end of the regular season. In his last 15 games (playoffs excluded), Nylander accumulated 11 points which is good for a 60-point pace over 82 games. His advanced analytics weren’t bad either. He was starting to look more involved in the play.
He will have training camp and the pre-season to prepare for the regular season
Being able to prepare with your team before the regular season is key to having a good year, and Nylander is the perfect example of this. While he was holding contract negotiations last year he was unable to practice with the team. This was not positive for his overall game because all the other players were in midseason form when he was just getting started. This year Nylander is going to be prepared and will be an immediate top-six contributor.
Overall, I think that Nylander is going to have an improved season and will be a consistent contributor for the Maple Leafs. It is not unrealistic to see the right winger set new career highs in all three major scoring categories. After all, he is an elite hockey player with a long career ahead of him.
Projection: 27 goals, 46 assists for 73 points
Player stats from: NHL.com
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