F (S)
William Nylander skating up the ice with the puck during a game.
Photo credit: NHL.com

Insider Reveals How William Nylander Was Nearly Traded Before He Signed his Extension

Published January 8, 2024 at 2:33 PM

This NHL insider has just revealed that William Nylander was nearly traded this season before the Leafs offered him his massive extension.

Elliotte Friedman Reveals How Nylander Was Nearly Traded

Most of the talk around William Nylander this season has been speculation around his extension, how much it would be and whether or not the Leafs could afford it. However, Elliotte Friedman has just revealed that there was a moment where Toronto wasn't even going to re-sign him, and was looking to trade him for a defenseman. Friedman discussed this on his 32 thoughts podcast.

"I think this is the key thing. I think over the summer, the Toronto Maple Leafs made it clear they would consider trading William Nylander for a top defenseman and there just wasn't anything out there. Part of the reason is that teams that were going to trade for him didn't know if they were going to be able to sign him. So, nobody is trading a top defenseman or a really good defenseman for a Nylander that you don't know if you're going to be able to sign. Look at how hard this negotiation was going to be for Toronto. It wasn't going to be any easier anywhere else. So that made it difficult for Toronto to make a deal, they had no deal to make.

I think from the beginning of the season until just before Christmas when Toronto re-engaged, and I think a lot of this started again just after their trip to Sweden... I think the Maple Leafs went through the league and said 'if we let him go and we use that money on the blueline, who is the defenseman we could go get and be impactful enough to fix the loss of Nylander and his production?...They said there is not a defenseman they can get their hands on who is worth losing this player."

The line of thinking makes complete sense. Nylander's production has been high historically, and this year has skyrocketed. Even if they did save the $11.5 million by not re-signing him, there is no making up for that with a star defenseman.

Nylander Signs Biggest Contract in Leafs History

If anything, the near trade might have cost the Leafs in terms of hesitation in signing Nylander at the start of the year. It was speculated that Nylander was asking for $9.5-10 million at the start of the year, and now, the Leafs had to pay him $11.5 to compensate for his incredible season.

Officially official: William Nylander lands the largest total value contract in #leafs history at $92-million over eight years ($11.5M AAV).

The deal includes a full no-movement clause and significant signing bonus payments, per sources.

Leaf fans can rest easy, at least, that Nylander has been locked up for the long term in Toronto.

As seen on Maple Leafs Daily - "Nylander reportedly almost traded before signing his extention in Toronto"
January 8   |   28 answers
Insider Reveals How William Nylander Was Nearly Traded Before He Signed his Extension

Do you think the Leafs should have traded Nylander?

Yes932.1 %
No1967.9 %
Latest 10 stories