On Tuesday, the Chicago Blackhawks sent Henri Jokiharju to Buffalo in exchange for Alexander Nylander.
This was a swap of two former first round picks; Nylander was taken eighth overall in 2016 while Jokiharju was taken 29th overall in 2017.
To this point, both players have yet to crack an NHL roster, but Jokiharju has had some NHL success in a small sample size. The same can’t be said about Nylander — not yet at least.
Following the shocking trade on Tuesday, Alexander Nylander made some interesting comments about his development.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Nylander shed some light on his situation in Buffalo:
"“Buffalo, that kind of stuff, that’s in the past,” said Nylander, according to ESPN.“Obviously thought maybe I would be in the NHL sooner than I have been, but I’m just really excited, looking forward to being part of the Blackhawks organization. Really good with development players, so they actually know what they’re doing.”"
That sure sounds like Nylander is, at least partially, blaming the Sabres organization for the way his career has gone thus far.
The Blackhawks are also hoping they can change Nylander’s current trajectory; Blackhawks’ General Manager, Stan Bowman, is building a reputation for acquiring talented reclamation projects who were former high-end draft picks.
In this case, between Bowman’s eye for talent and Nylander’s parting shot at the Sabres, this trade may be a chance worth taking.
Over the last five drafts, not counting the 2019 draft, only eight of 37 players drafted by the Sabres have made it to the NHL.
13 of those 37 selections were first and second round picks. Of those players, only four have a full season of NHL experience; two have less than 10 games in the NHL.
Three of the eight players are no longer in the Sabres’ organization. Five of the eight players were top eight overall selections, and three of those five players were top two overall selections. Lastly, one of those eight players is the aforementioned Nylander.
The Blackhawks’ track record isn’t much better than the Sabres. The Blackhawks have made 42 total selections with only six reaching the NHL thus far in the same five year span.
With that being said, Chicago’s draft picks haven’t been as valuable as the Sabres have been. The Blackhawks have only had nine first and second round selections. Only one of those was a top eight overall selection compared to the five Buffalo had.
Despite the similar results, Nylander seems to think the Blackhawks’ organization will help his development and give him a better path to the NHL.
In any case, Nylander certainly seems happy to get out of Buffalo and head to Chicago. In fact, this is how he celebrated the news:
Hopefully, Alexander Nylander is worth the high price Bowman paid.