Analysis

Blackhawks’ Development Camp Analysis: Alexander Nylander

By Zach Kuehn
BUFFALO, NY - APRIL 2: Alexander Nylander #92 of the Buffalo Sabres prepares for a faceoff against the Nashville Predators during an NHL game on April 2, 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - APRIL 2: Alexander Nylander #92 of the Buffalo Sabres prepares for a faceoff against the Nashville Predators during an NHL game on April 2, 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The pressure is on for the newest member of the Chicago Blackhawks, Alexander Nylander.

Without a doubt, one of the most shocking moves of the offseason for the Chicago Blackhawks is when Henri Jokiharju was sent out of town to bring in former 1st round pick, Alexander Nylander, from the Buffalo Sabres.

It was a move that was met with some opposition by Hawks fans at first, but this week’s prospect camp has shown Nylander’s potential.

I went to Blackhawks’ Development Camp at Fifth-Third Bank Arena to see how he fit in with the other Blackhawks’ prospects. After watching him play in person, I have a few key takeaways.

Alexander Nylander Player Profile

Speed:

Right off the bat, it was evident that Alexander Nylander has elite speed, especially with the puck. While all prospect camp drills should be taken with a grain of salt, due to the varying level of readiness among the players, Nylander was one of the standouts. In my opinion, his speed with the puck is better than without, as he is a very offensive-minded player.

Shooting:

This was an interesting area in my opinion. The power behind his shot is clear, but he missed the net with regularity. Now, he knows he should be hitting the net more, and you can tell by his reactions. Some of the misses looked bad compared to some of his camp counterparts, such as Kirby Dach, Adam Boqvist, etc. The power from his shot is there, but his accuracy needs to improve.

Effort/Work Ethic:

This is something that has been discussed about Alexander Nylander his entire career, an apparent lack of effort. It was evident that Nylander was putting in the effort at the Blackhawks’ development camp. From the drills to the rushes, he looked like he was giving his all.

For me, this was my biggest concern with acquiring Nylander. All of the articles and tweets about Nylander and his time in Buffalo had me concerned, but seeing him live in action has eased my mind.

The Blackhawks knew what they were getting in Nylander, a forward with elite offensive skill, but a player who had lost his way in his previous organization. Nylander opted to not attend the Sabres’ prospect camp the week after this year’s entry draft, but chose to attend Chicago’s.

Nylander having this new attitude with the Blackhawks is a great sign and a welcomed change from his time in Buffalo, where he felt that he should have been up in the show. While he did play 19 games for the Sabres over the last three seasons, his play wasn’t NHL ready.

He seemed to have a leg up on the majority of the players that participated in the Blackhawks’ development camp. This makes sense since he has the most professional hockey experience. It was also to be expected, but it’s great to see Nylander beginning his transition to Chicago on the right foot.

This could be another attempt by Bowman and company to activate Alexander Nylander’s dormant potential, similar to Dylan Strome when he was acquired last season from Arizona. The difference is that the Blackhawks gave up one of their top prospects in Henri Jokiharju to get Nylander.

The best-case scenario for the ‘Hawks is that they have found a top-6 forward of the future in Nylander, and he can make an immediate impact. The worst case is that he repeats his cycle that occurred in Buffalo, and remains in the minors for the next few seasons. Only time will tell, but Alexander Nylander is trending in the right direction in his fresh start with the Chicago Blackhawks.

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