Board Topics: Baltimore Orioles organization
PHILADELPHIA -- The Toronto Maple Leafs opted for some young Swedish sizzle in picking William Nylander eighth overall in the NHL draft Friday. Mitch Wishnowsky Super Bowl Jersey . "Hes got high-, high-end skill. He might be the most skilled player in the draft," said Toronto GM Dave Nonis. "Electrifying," he added. "He has NHL speed, NHL hands and an NHL shot right now. Its whether or not the rest of his game can catch up." The son of former NHLer Michael Nylander, William was named best forward at the 2014 Under-18 World Championship after leading all players in assists (10) and points (16) in seven games for Sweden. Nylander, who was born in Calgary but lives in Stockholm, had one goal and six assists in 22 games with Swedens Modo this season. Just five foot nine and 169 pounds, the baby-faced Nylander looks younger than his years. "Hes grown a lot in the last 12 months ... Hes taller, hes thicker," said Nonis. "Theres a lot of work left there to do, for him. "But in terms of foot speed, puck skills, ability to shoot the puck, hes got all those down right now. So right now its going to be about hard work, getting stronger and prepared to play against North American men. Hes already played in the mens league in Sweden, hes not a kid thats been playing junior. Hes been playing in the (Swedish) elite League against some pretty highly skilled and strong players already, which bodes well for us." Nylander is a free agent in Sweden, meaning he is free to come to North America. "Hell definitely have a chance to make our team," said Nonis, while acknowledging it would be a "long shot" for him to crack the Leaf lineup as an 18-year-old. "Hell be given that opportunity and if hes good enough to stick and play and contribute, then we would keep him. And if not, well decide at that point whether its best to keep him over in North America or to have him go back to Sweden and play in the Elite League." Quizzed about being ready for the NHL, Nylander said: "Id say my goal is for next year, but if that doesnt happen, probably Ill go back to Sweden or play in the AHL." Asked to describe his game, Nylander said: "I like to score goals and make plays and work hard on both ends of the ice." Shaving looks like it wont be a problem for a while. Nonis says the young Nylander makes spectacular plays. "Those highlights happen on a regular occurrence," said Nonis. "So I think hell be a very exciting player for our fans. He can move the puck, hes not just a guy who can carry it and snipe it. Hes a good playmaker and at the under-18s, if you look at the points totals he threw up there, they were pretty impressive." Nonis also liked the way the young Swede stood up to the Canadians when the two teams met at the tournament. "I think he was tying to prove a point," he said. Nonis said the Leafs were looking to move down in the draft had two players not been available by their pick. Nylander was one, he did not name the other. Michael Nylander played for seven teams (Hartford, Calgary, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Washington, Boston and the Rangers) during his 920-game, 15-season NHL career. William played briefly with his father last season when he was loaned to Rogle in Swedens second division. Joe Staley Super Bowl Jersey . The attacking midfielder arrives on a free transfer from Spains Malaga. The 28-year-old joins Scottish striker Kenny Miller and Argentine midfielder Matias Laba as designated players on the Whitecaps roster. Garrett Celek Super Bowl Jersey . - The first sign that Kansas Speedway was going to be a heartbreaker for Hendrick Motorsports should have come during qualifying when Jimmie Johnson inexplicably spun and earned one of his worst starting spots since 2005.The Winnipeg Goldeyes signed outfielder Sam Kimmel to a contract on Tuesday and infielder Ryan Pineda has been placed on the disabled list with a broken hand. Kimmel, 24, hit .232 with two RBI in 18 games this year with three Class A teams in the Baltimore Orioles organization. He was drafted by the Oriolles in the 18th round of the 2012 MLB amateur draft out of Stetson University and played the last two seasons with Class A Short Season Aberdeen of the New York/Penn League. Jalen Hurd Super Bowl Jersey. . The Goldeyes now have 22 players on the active roster, including 12 pitchers and 10 position players. ' ' '