Toronto Maple Leafs prospect William Nylander left for the World Junior Championships tournament this winter hoping to play well enough to earn a spot on the Toronto roster for the second half of the season, but an injury in the first period of Team Sweden's 8-3 win over Switzerland Saturday left his tournament hopes — never mind his Toronto status — in doubt.
Nylander was hit in the head by Chris Egli of Switzerland in the first period of the win on a dirty play which earned Egli a three-game suspension by the World Junior Championship Disciplinary Panel. Team Sweden had Nylander checked out at a hospital, and he was deemed out for Monday's game against Team USA at the very least. One of the team's doctor's, Adolf Bergsten, said the team does have hope Nylander will return during the tournament.
Nylander took to Twitter over the weekend to reassure fans that he is doing better.
The 19-year-old prospect was selected eighth overall by the Maple Leafs in the 2014 NHL Draft. He had an impressive showing at World Juniors last year, registering 10 points in seven games to prompt his transition from European hockey to the AHL, as Nylander spent the second half of the year with the Toronto Marlies.
Nylander returned to the Marlies this season. He registered 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) in 27 games so far this season, proving he might be ready for tougher competition.
“We'll take it day by day,” Bergsten told NHL.com. “Hopefully he'll be back in the tournament. We have a timeline but I can't tell you what it is.”