NHL Rumor Mill – October 16, 2018
The latest Toronto Maple Leafs speculation in your NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently speculated over some possible Western Conference trade destinations (and their defensive targets) for restricted free agent William Nylander if (“big if”) the Toronto Maple Leafs decide to part ways with him.
“1. Arizona: Nicklas Hjalmarsson, Jason Demers, Jakob Chychrun
2. Minnesota: Matt Dumba, Jared Spurgeon
3. Anaheim: Josh Manson, Brandon Montour
4. Edmonton: Darnell Nurse (imagine Nylander might be an upgrade on Connor McDavid’s wing from Ty Rattie, and the pressure in Oilersville got heavy fast)
5. Vancouver: Chris Tanev, Alex Edler
6. St. Louis: Colton Parayko”
Fox said he’s “just spitballing here” and believes the Leafs and Nylander still want to work out a new contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fox isn’t the only person to speculate over possible trade options and blueline targets for the Leafs should they put Nylander on the block. I don’t think there’s a fit with the Coyotes, the Wild won’t part with Dumba and could be reluctant to move Spurgeon, the blueline-thin Oilers won’t move Nurse and the Blues aren’t trading Parayko.
The Ducks could be an option, though they’re currently making do without Corey Perry, Ondrej Kase, Ryan Getzlaf, and Patrick Eaves. As for the Canucks, Tanev is often mentioned as a trade option for the Leafs but his injury history should give them pause. Edler, meanwhile, has a full no-trade and doesn’t seem keen to waive it.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: NHL insider Darren Dreger appeared on Toronto’s TSN 1050 yesterday and was asked about a report of a KHL team having a strong interest in Nylander. Dreger isn’t surprised by this, suggesting teams in other European leagues could also have an interest in the 22-year-old forward. However, he thinks those teams believe Nylander and the Leafs will eventually agree to terms.
Still, Dreger acknowledged the Nylander camp might have to consider its options if he’s unsigned by Dec. 1, making him ineligible to play in the NHL for the remainder of the season. The KHL option could at least give Nylander a bit of financial leverage in negotiations with the Leafs. Dreger suggests it might provide the forward “a sense of comfort in having a “Plan B”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Playing in Europe is a possibility for Nylander but certainly not his top choice. Re-signing with the Leafs remains the priority. Signing with a European team could also depend upon each league’s rules regarding mid-season free-agent signings.
Dreger was also asked if he could confirm or deny speculation suggesting the Leafs could have interest in Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson. He cannot confirm it though he did note Anderson surfaced in trade rumors last fall during his contract standoff with the Blue Jackets. He said there was some talk at that time of the Leafs having “considerable interest” in Anderson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Anderson speculation came about because of the winger’s recent demotion to the Jackets’ fourth line. The Leafs may have looked at him a year ago but I think their priorities have changed.
The Leafs have Mitch Marner, Kasperi Kapanen, Connor Brown and Andreas Johnsson now skating on the right side, with Nylander usually playing on the right wing when he’s in the lineup. Their concern now is their right-side defense.