F (S)

Toronto Maple Leafs: Why Losing Nylander For Free Could Be Smarter Than A Trade

Published August 30, 2023 at 11:53

The William Nylander contract situation has been developing throughout the offseason. Now that Auston Matthews has signed long term the focus has shifted solely to Nylander. Today we will look at a wide range of scenarios and why the best one may take Nylander away from the Leafs.

Laying Out The Options

According to sources throughout the NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander still remain far apart in contract negotiations. This has led to discussion about what the Leafs should look to do next. The options with an unrestricted free agent in the last year of his contract are pretty slim. Here are all of the outcomes from best to worst for the Leafs.

1. Re-sign him to a team-friendly contract
2. Trade him for an elite-defenseman and win the trade
3. Re-sign him to a fair contract
4. Trade him in trade that doesn't make current team worse.
5. Re-sign him to a player-friendly expensive contract
6. Let him walk for nothing, but keep him for one more year
7. Make a good trade for the future that hurts the team right now
8. Make a bad trade right now

These options range from multiple scenarios of re-signing Nylander to trading him to just letting him walk.

Is Trading Nylander Actually The Best Option?

While of course the organization and fans would like William Nylander to take a team-friendly deal this feels unlikely at the moment. Based on all of the information known from insiders Nylander is looking to get paid what he feels he is worth.

This then leads to the idea of trading Nylander for an elite defenseman. This is likely the best option the Leafs have available. Shopping Nylander on the market until the Leafs get an offer for a defenseman that can help them win immediately.

This would also create room for some of the young forwards like Matthew Knies and Nick Robertson to have an opportunity to step up and contribute. If the Leafs are able to get out of the William Nylander issue, acquire a top defenseman, and give their young players more playing time it would be a master-class move by Brad Treliving.

Now of course there are a lot of projections in these scenarios but Knies showed he could play at a high level at the end of last season. As for Nylander's value in past years he may not have had as much value as a rental but now with sign and trades being more common in today's NHL, he may retain more value as the year goes on.
August 30   |   168 answers
Toronto Maple Leafs: Why Losing Nylander For Free Could Be Smarter Than A Trade

Which option is the best resolution for the Leafs assuming William Nylander does not take a team-friendly deal?

Trade him for an elite-defenseman10964.9 %
Re-sign him to a fair contract2917.3 %
Trade him in trade that doesn't make them worse95.4 %
Make a good trade for the future2112.5 %
Latest 10 stories