Leafs no strangers when it comes to Scandinavians

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was booed relentlessly while addressing the crowd before the draft on...

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was booed relentlessly while addressing the crowd before the draft on Friday night in Philadelphia. (USA TODAY SPORTS)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:33 AM ET

The Maple Leafs continue to keep the door open for Swedish stars, provided they have a Canadian tattoo.

The club that gave pioneer Borje Salming his chance in the early ’70s and made Mats Sundin a captain in the ’90s, continues to welcome Scandinavians with Friday’s selection of William Nylander eighth overall. But Nylander, a scoring winger, is known to deviate from the script of his countrymen who don’t see themselves as the go-to players on offence.

Nylander, born in Calgary and son of NHL journeyman Michael Nylander, has some great moves and knows how to get the most of a body that’s under six feet. The Leafs already have a hard-hitting Swedish defenceman on the verge of breaking in, Petter Granberg. And they have high hope for blueliner Tom Nilsson, a mid-round pick from 2011.

What they can’t do is waste this opportunity as they did with another Swede with Canadian connections, Winnipeg-born Alex Steen.


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