Sunday NHL Rumor Mill – September 30, 2018
Update on William Nylander plus the Capitals possible trade-deadline plans in the NHL rumor mill.
LATEST ON NYLANDER
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cited NHL insider Pierre LeBrun discussing the contract standoff between the Toronto Maple Leafs and restricted free agent William Nylander on Friday. “I can tell you that I know the Carolina Hurricanes are among the teams that have phoned of late to check in on William Nylander with the Leafs. Just in case. As they should, by the way. ‘Are you trading him?’ They were told no.”
LeBrun said the Hurricanes won’t attempt to sign Nylander to an offer sheet because who knows where they’ll finish in the standings. “Are you going to give away a first, a second, and a third if you sign him for $8.1 million or less?”
LeBrun believes the teams that could use Nylander the most can ill-afford to part with that type of compensation. He also pointed the Leafs have the cap space to match an offer sheet.
THE ATHLETIC: During a recent Dallas Stars mailbag, Sean Shapiro was asked what it would take for the club to acquire William Nylander or Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin to bolster their scoring depth. Shapiro replied adding a top-six forward would help but as far as he knows there’s nothing in play right now.
“The Stars are confident that their depth scoring issues will be solved by a better role for Jason Spezza, the return of Valeri Nichushkin, and a better offensive push from the rest of the lineup after the big line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers might feel trading Nylander becomes increasingly likely the longer his contract impasse with the Leafs drags on, especially if it gets closer to the Dec. 1 deadline to re-sign him. However, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas remains insistent (publicly, at least) that Nylander isn’t on the trade block and I see no reason to question that position. After all, the Leafs hold all the leverage here.
The longer this drags on, the more it hurts Nylander, especially if the Leafs play well in his absence. There’s also no offer sheet coming that he can use to his advantage.
WHAT WILL THE CAPITALS DO AT THE TRADE DEADLINE?
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent Washington Capitals mailbag segment, Chris Kuc was asked if the club will be in a position to be aggressive at the trade deadline and if so who they would target. He feels it’s far too early to speculate over which players the Capitals might target by the Feb. 25, 2019 deadline.
Kuc noted they also have around $1 million in salary-cap space, which doesn’t leave much room to add a top player. However, when he spoke to Capitals GM Brian MacLellan if he had enough room to make deals to improve the club, MacLellan said, “We have a little bit of room and we can make it work.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever moves MacLellan makes at the deadline will depend on his club’s performance and roster needs by that point. As Kuc notes, it’s far too early to begin speculating over that. That being said, the Capitals’ limited salary-cap room means they’ll either have to make a dollar-for-dollar swap or deal for a cheap depth player.