Recently ending his season with the Toronto Maple Leafs after being knocked out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Washington Capitals in game six of the first round, William Nylander has joined Team Sweden for the IIHF World Championships in Paris and Cologne.
Nylander, who has previously played for Sweden six times, ended his regular season with the Leafs with 22 goals and 61 points in 81 games, adding one goal and four points in six playoff games. Now, he’s looking forward to representing his home country in his first World Championship appearance.
“I’m looking forward to getting out there, getting on the ice, putting on the jersey,” said the 21 year-old center. “I’m just looking forward to getting the tournament started.”
Nylander will be joining a team that is made up of many other talented Swedish NHL players, including Gabriel Landeskog, Victor Hedman, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson to name a few.
“It feels amazing because those were guys you looked up to when you were younger,” said Nylander. “I always knew they were great players and now I finally get to play on the same team with them, and being on the national team makes it even more special. We got a great team so I’m excited.”
This is the first time Nylander will be playing for Sweden since the 2015-2016 World Junior Championship, where he was forced to leave the team after taking a bad hit in game one against Switzerland. Naturally, he has high hopes this time around.
“I expect it to be fun,” Nylander said. “I expect that we can go pretty far in the tournament and I hope we’re able to reach the medal games.”
Sweden’s first game of the tournament will be against Russia on May 5th at Laxness Arena in Cologne, Germany.