With the first goal of the Chicago Blackhawks season going to Alex Nylander many saw this as the perfect way to propel him throughout the 2019/2020 season. That momentum dwindled as game one progressed and Nylander seemed to fade into the background.
Let’s talk about the positives first. In the first half of the game Nylander was noticeable, he was able to create chances in the offensive zone and was able to finish on a nice play by Patrick Kane at the blue line with his first goal as a Blackhawk. One take away from the goal was that it was also scored in a spot of the ice where he has not found himself most of the preseason; the middle of the ice.
Many times when Nylander would get the pick he would skate to the outside, and play from the edges of the offensive zone. He instead took the puck to the middle of the ice, used a Flyers defenseman with the screen and just fired a well-placed laser of a shot.
It is clear that Nylander has all the tools, as we had discussed before, but much like when he was first acquired, the question of whether he could be effective in all facets of the game is raised. He doesn’t need to be Patrice Bergeron or Jonathan Toews but at times during Friday’s game, he would find himself holding up on a check or not going into a corner battle with a lot of vigor.
Nylander would even find himself bumped from the top line for Drake Caggiula, once again, during the final period. The Blackhawks were looking to mix things up offensively being down in the third and with the ice in bad shape, but over time it is the hope that Nylander can be counted on come crunch time.
It is still just one game, but this will be an ongoing question throughout the season; what is Alex Nylander?
After one game, we can say he is the Blackhawks’ leading goal scorer and even with a few warts, he is hoping that game one can launch a very productive 2019-2020 campaign.