Top Leafs pick Nylander set for rookie challenge

William Nylander (left), the Leaf's first pick in the 2014 draft, chats with fellow prospect Connor...

William Nylander (left), the Leaf's first pick in the 2014 draft, chats with fellow prospect Connor Brown on Thursday during an informal Leafs-Marlies skate at the MasterCard Centre. (Jack Boland/QMI Agency)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:42 PM ET

There is no such thing as meaningless competition right now for William Nylander.

The Maple Leafs’ No. 1 draft pick in June wants to show he’s not all flash at this stage of his career and that he can stay in the job picture into October when training camp begins next month.

So when Thursday’s scrimmage ended at the club’s practice rink, the drudgery for rookies to collect pucks turned into a contest for Nylander and fellow rookies Stu Percy, Connor Brown and Josh Leivo. They tried to out-do each other flipping the discs into the bucket from a few feet away, not wanting to quit until the Zamboni’s loud approach nudged them off the ice.

If this had been a game on the CNE midway, Nylander and his pals would have walked away with an armful of kewpie dolls.


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