The Chicago Blackhawks will get Alex Nylander back this season after he missed last year with an injury. What he brings to the table and how he plays early could decide whether or not he stays with this team moving forward.
The Blackhawks and Alex Nylander are in a different position than the last time they met.
Nylander missed last season with an injury and the year before that he was one of the team’s best offensive prospects, but things have changed since then. Chicago has a number of forwards like Lukas Reichel and Henrik Borgstrom, looking to get into the lineup. To say nothing of guys like Philipp Kurashev and Brandon Hagel that made big impacts last year.
Nylander is more expendable now than before, and he will have to earn every opportunity he gets this season. Now let’s jump in and look at some stats from the past, keys to success, and expectations for the year.
Stats From The Past:
Keys To Success:
1. Make The Most Of Every Opportunity – Nothing will be handed to Nylander this time around. His icetime and chance in the lineup will probably be less than in 2019-20. So it is up to him to show that he can make the most of every shift he gets no matter who is on the ice with him.
2. Provide Something Different – Nylander can score goals better than most. I think the only way he makes the lineup and stays there is if he can provide something this team doesn’t have already in Reichel, Hagel, and the other young guys.
3. Consistency – If Nylander is not the same guy every shift he won’t be in the NHL lineup long. It seemed as though Nylander got a lot of second or third chances the last time he played, and that won’t be the case anymore.
Overall I still believe the decision to trade for Nylander might have been the right move. At the time the team needed forwards and had a lot of different defensemen in the system. Now whether or not it ends up being a win depends on how he plays this season.
My expectation for Nylander is that his test will come early. If Nylander is with the team past November going into December then I think he is here to stay for the year and then things will be re-addressed come the trade deadline and the offseason. This year is going to have a lot of opportunities for Nylander to prove himself and if he can stay with the team and put up 15 to 20 goals then that would be a success.
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The last time he played he had 10 goals in 65 games. Not bad depth for a team, but let’s see if he can make it to 15 or 20 this year. I think that would be a good goal for Nylander outside of just staying in the lineup. The season will be here before you know it!