The Buffalo Sabres announced today that they’ve assigned Alexander Nylander to Team Sweden to prepare for the upcoming World Junior Championships.
Nylander had gotten off to a slow start in Rochester this season, but as an 18-year old playing in the AHL, an adjustment period was certainly expected. Now, after showing improvement in his skating, consistency, and puck control, he sits fifth among all Amerks skaters with 17 points in 29 games.
Amerks coach Dan Lambert thinks that playing in the tournament will be good for Nylander, and will give him a chance to see how much he’s grown over the past year against players his own age. Here’s what Lambert told Amy Moritz of The Buffalo News last week:
“I think the nice thing for him would be that he would get to play against players his age. He would probably see how his game has progressed a little more than on a daily basis here. I truly believe that he would come back, assuming he plays the way he can and the team has success, that he will come back a different player.”
Nylander is excited to play in the World Juniors, and is looking for a better result than last year’s semifinal knockout. Here’s Nylander, again from TBN:
“I played it last year and it was an unbelievable tournament. Should have won. There will be a little revenge for this year. If I could go to that I’d be super excited. You’re playing against top players in your age level and it’s always an honor to put on the Swedish jersey. The tournament’s really fun. They do it really good. Of course you just want to win gold.”
The 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship takes place Dec. 26 - Jan. 5 in Montreal and Toronto.