NHL Rumor Mill – November 16, 2018
As the Dec. 1 signing deadline for Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander draws nearer, trade speculation is growing. Check out the latest in your NHL Rumor Mill.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Leafs could face three options with Nylander: re-sign him before the Dec. 1 deadline, trade him before that deadline, or consider shopping him at the trade deadline if they don’t find a suitable offer before Dec. 1.
The last one would involve non-playoff clubs as Nylander would be ineligible to play this season if not under contract by the deadline. LeBrun considers it the least-likely option.
Bob McKenzie believes re-signing Nylander remains the Leafs’ priority. One agent not involved in the situation predicted both sides could settle on a three-year bridge contract for “four million in the first year, five million in the second year, seven million in the third year. That would be a $5.33 million AVV.”
Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell confirmed he’s interested in Nylander but believes the Leafs still hope to re-sign him. Waddell thinks “multiple teams” have contacted the Leafs to see what’s going on. For his part, the Hurricanes GM said part of his discussions with Leafs GM Kyle Dubas was focused on gaining insight for his own restricted free agents.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In case you’re wondering, this isn’t tampering because Nylander is a free agent.
The Hurricanes have been linked to Nylander and the Leafs for some time. If the Leafs put Nylander on the trade block, the Hurricanes have depth in defensemen to tempt them.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently listed the Hurricanes, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, Arizona Coyotes, and Colorado Avalanche as potential trade destinations for Nylander. Appearing on TSN Radio yesterday, LeBrun speculates at least one-third of the league have contacted the Leafs expressing some level of interest in Nylander.
LeBrun’s colleague Jonas Siegel believes if the Leafs can’t re-sign Nylander they should not trade him but let him sit out the season and attempt to re-sign him next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My feeling is Nylander and the Leafs agree to a bridge contract leading up to Dec. 1, probably close to the breakdown McKenzie suggested. Of course, both sides are going to take as much time as possible in these negotiations as they attempt to jockey for leverage against each other.
I’m not surprised that there’s so much interest in Nylander. You can’t blame those general managers for checking in on his potential availability and how much the Leafs could ask for his services. Here’s my take on those clubs listed by LeBrun:
Hurricanes: Have the depth in defensemen and other assets (including salary-cap room) to tempt the Leafs but of late it sounds like Waddell could be looking elsewhere for a scoring forward. He’ll likely keep tabs on Nylander but I think he’s got other targets in mind.
Kings: Lack the depth in tradeable assets and sufficient salary-cap room to make this work. I don’t see Dubas having interest in Alec Martinez or Jake Muzzin as he’ll likely prefer younger blueliners with a longer shelf live.
Wild: Unless they’re willing to part with Matt Dumba (and I don’t believe they are), I don’t see a deal here.
Ducks: Like the Hurricanes, hold depth in good, young defenseman. LIke the Kings, they have limited cap space. Probably no deal there.
Panthers: LeBrun believes they’ve internally discussed Nylander but they haven’t reached out to the Leafs. That suggests they’re not serious suitors.
Blues: After loading up on forwards this summer, they’re now having difficulties on defense and in goal. Nylander won’t help address those issues. And no, they won’t part with Colton Parayko.
Golden Knights: The asking price will likely be Shea Theodore and I don’t see GM George McPhee agreeing to that.
Coyotes: Yes, Nylander would be a good fit with their young nucleus. Like LeBrun, I don’t see them seriously pursuing him. LeBrun jokingly suggests they’re keeping their powder dry for an expensive offer sheet next summer for Arizona native Auston Matthews. Let that rattle around in your heads for the weekend, Leafs fans.
Avalanche: They’re soon to face a significant re-signing of their own with emerging superstar Mikko Rantanen. I don’t see Nylander as a fit there.
To sum up, I believe the Hurricanes stand the best chance to land Nylander if the Leafs decide to trade him. It’s possible, however, one of the other clubs listed by LeBrun could step up with a big offer, or perhaps another team not on that list could surprise us.
And to wrap this up here’s a truly eye-rolling suggestion from Damien Cox. Discuss!
John Tavares is playing so well it does make you think; why not sign Marner and Nylander, and trade Matthews for a whole pile of goodies? Not saying they would, but it’s not such a crazy idea any more. And that’s because of JT.
— Damien Cox (@DamoSpin) November 14, 2018