NHL Rumor Mill – August 22, 2023

by | Aug 22, 2023 | Rumors | 30 comments

Could the Leafs’ William Nylander be a fit with the Ducks? What’s the latest on the Predators? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NHL NETWORK: Mike Rupp believes Maple Leafs winger William Nylander could price himself out of Toronto. He suggests the Anaheim Ducks might be a good fit.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander (NHL Images).

Nylander, 27, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. Rupp thinks his tenure with the Leafs is coming to an end, perhaps before the end of the coming season.

The Leafs must also re-sign Auston Matthews. Rupp believes they’ll get that deal done but there won’t be enough long-term cap space to retain Nylander, who tallied 40 goals last season.

Rupp would be interested to see Nylander get an opportunity where he could be “the man” somewhere. He noted the Leafs haven’t picked high in the draft in quite some time. Rupp noted the Ducks already have a boatload of young talent and suggested they use some of their picks as trade bait.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Rupp is merely suggesting that Nylander would be a great fit with the Ducks. He’s not saying those two clubs are discussing a trade. Nevertheless, it’s something interesting to muse about as the offseason dog days drag on.

Rupp envisioned Nylander at left wing on the Ducks’ top line alongside Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry. Nylander has spent more time in Toronto at right wing but he can also skate on the left side. If he meshed well with Zegras and Terry, the Ducks would have a potent first line that could accelerate the club’s rebuilding process.

With $16.6 million in cap space, the Ducks could afford to take on Nylander’s $6.9 million cap hit for this season. With over $39 million in projected cap space for 2024-25, they can afford to pony up the $10 million annually that Nylander reportedly prefers on his next contract.

As for a return, core Ducks like Zegras and Terry as well as up-and-comers Mason McTavish and Jamie Drysdale are off-limits. So are top prospects like Leo Carlsson, Pavel Mintyukov and Lukas Dostal but they might part with Owen Zellweger, Sasha Pastujov or Nathan Gaucher.

The Ducks have all their picks for the next three drafts along with an extra second-rounder and two extra third-rounders in the 2024 draft. They would likely package some of those extra 2024 picks in a deal for Nylander but they’ll also have to include a first.

So what say you, Leafs and Ducks fans? Does Nylander to Anaheim make sense? And what do you think the trade would look like? Let me know in the comments below.


NASHVILLE HOCKEY NOW: In a recent mailbag segment, Michael Gallagher was asked which trade might make sense for the Predators given their $7.9 million cap space for the coming season.

Gallagher noted the Predators have been linked to Leafs winger William Nylander, Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce.

Of the three, he considers Kuznetsov the most likely given the Predators pushed hard to acquire him before the start of free agency on July 1 and remain high on him. The only problem with taking him on is it would push Cody Glass down to the third line unless head coach Andrew Brunette wants to move him to the wing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators might still have an interest in Kuznetsov but I think that has waned over the summer. If they really wanted him they likely would’ve acquired him by now. Maybe they wanted the Capitals to retain part of his $7.8 million cap hit through 2024-25 or perhaps the Predators are on his 10-team no-trade list. Whatever the reason, the deal didn’t happen and doesn’t seem likely to be resurrected.

Gallagher believes the current Predators roster is what we’ll see when training camp opens next month. If they make an addition it could be an affordable free agent such as Max Comtois or Jay O’Brien.


  1. I would have thought Comtois would have at least a PTO by now. What’s up ?

  2. I can’t see the Leafs trading Nylander for a third-tier prospect, even if the Ducks include a first rounder. If the Leafs do trade Nylander they’re going to want something that will help them *now* in return. Otherwise they’ll be getting worse than last year rather than better.

    • Agreed Garth. In return for Nylander the Leafs will want at least one top level player who could help them now and who is signed or will sign for a few years to come at a somewhat lower hit than Nylander will cost (Brett Pesce?). The Ducks don’t have someone like that they can spare.

      • but what will hurt the Leafs in trade value is that Nylander only has one year left. If he was signed beyond 23-24, I could see them getting a first and a prospect.

  3. Reading Lyle’s breakdown of the Ducks and their young players in the system makes me see them sending an offer sheet to Alexis Lafreniere as a good risk. Gives them a LW to play with Zegras who is more of a playmaker than shooter which could be a fit with the shooting Terry on the side. The Rangers cannot match anything so even a low 2×4 gets it done.

    I think Lafy would have 70-80 points as the #1 LW in Anaheim getting the ice time and powerplay looks

    • Some GM should offer sheet Shane Pinto at 4 x $4M
      It would only cost a 2nd rounder.
      Boston? Detroit? CBJ? Canes?

      • he is ineligible for an offer sheet due to the total # of games played

      • Thank ds

  4. Adding Nylander to the Ducks does not make Anaheim a playoff team.

    I don’t see any reason for the Ducks to trade for Nylander; unless, he signs a deal and in that case Anaheim has to give up something of quality.

    Next season Pitts has over $18m in cap space; maybe Nylander reunites with Dubas.

    • Caper, I suppose if they can sign him, he is young enough to still be productive when the Ducks can contend again. This is gonna take a while IMO.

      A guy that might not still be productive in 3-4 years, is Cam Fowler who is 31 today and signed for 3 more years. They finished last with him, and can finish last without him. But, he has a NTC that only allows for 4 teams to be traded to. He is from Ontario, but has been in ANA for a long time and is likely settled in.

      I think the Ducks keep him, as getting blown out on a nightly basis is bad for a teams development too.

      What a deal like that would look like? I won’t even try. But I would guess that TOR would need to add just because Willie is a pending UFA, wants big $$, and Fowler is on a reasonable deal for 3 years. Ducks need D more than the Leafs even do.

      Tough to see a fit other than the Ducks have cap space.

      From a positional need perspective for both teams, the Carolina deal seems to make the most sense.

    • Reunite with the GM that took him to the 11th hour the last time they talked shop?
      I don’t know where or how you came to that knowing their past.

      Nylander is a $8-9M player or will be. If that is with the Leafs or not is another thing. If he thinks he’s worth more or wants more, great for him but I have my doubts there will be any GMs that feel the same. The thing about Nylander is he’s a bit of a line driver and an opportunist type player which makes him very desirable for any team.

  5. @Caper

    Dubas scares me , as per his connection with Auston Matthews …

    Nylander , I like , it will be interesting – I am tongue tied, as per a comment

  6. I think Toronto will keep Nylander for the year and use him as an own rental. Toronto has the advantage of being able to attract free agents, so keeping him and letting him walk next year doesn’t hurt them as much as it would hurt a lot of other teams.

    There’s also the outside chance they can do a sign and trade next summer prior to July 1, or even getting a pick for his rights, assuming both parties are getting along.

    • On the ability to attract UFA’s that is a yes & no.

      Cannot attract top UFA’s given the Leafs cap structure. Also not many players like being under the intense microscope that is Toronto. It is hard enough to play at one’s top level while the distractions of the media & fans is so intense. That is life in Canadian cities give the passion & pressure to win.

    • Toronto’s INABILITY to attract UFAs is getting compounded by a virtual dictatorship that has recently added a second carbon tax to an already over-taxed populace. Not to mention the new mayor talking about introducing a municipal tax.

      Nashville, Tampa, Dallas… These are places that can attract UFAs, and Toronto can’t compete as long as the salary cap ignores cost-of-living.

      • Actually, the Leafs have done pretty well compared to other teams attracting UFA’s haven’t they?

        We are literally having a conversation talking about one of the biggest UFA signings in recent memory in Toronto, so not sure your comment is really that accurate.

        And yes, taxes are too high in Ontario, but not sure a carbon tax impacts guys like Tavares that much.

      • Yes Obe, crime is up so far in 2023, but the year isn’t over. so the stats aren’t all available. Needs to be dealt with, but your hyperbole about a 3rd world country is BS. Unless you think Canada used to be a 3rd world country.

        See link for every year in Calgary, goes back to 1998 (it was actually worse in the early 90’s and late 80’s, the good old days!) You can check any city or municipality in the country. The #’s are the #’s, the facts are the facts.

        Crime per 100,00 in 1998 – 8,469 incidents.
        Crime rate per 100,000 in 2022 – 5963.
        A reduction of close to 30%. It was worse then.

        Many people just think today is worse than it was then, as that is how our brains work. We remember the good, and discount the bad. We all do it.

        Or you’re spending to much time watching or reading angertainment for $$.

        Yes we are seeing an increase in crime and homelessness/ hard drug addiction recently. I would argue they are connected. If elected folks don’t deal with it, they won’t get elected next time. So I am optimistic it will get dealt with. It will effect how I vote, that I do know.

        Here is the link, have a look.


      • Obe. Where do you live? Cause I can go to a sports game and ride the train without fear. I suppose malls could be dangerous seeings how’s they mostly been abandoned since the 90’s.

      • Provide specific information as to which NHL UFAs are avoiding Canadian NHL cities due to high crime. Name one.

    • Agreed. Nylander traded, in effect, for cap space, a commodity more valuable these days than draft picks or prospects.
      In the meantime he’s playing for his next contract.
      Not a bad situation at all.

    • Exactly.
      If Carlsson and Mintyukov are off limits there is no trade.
      To balance the money Anaheim could send back Adam Henrique with one year left on his contract.
      He would be the perfect 3rd line center for the Leafs.

  7. If nylander and ducks are a match they wait till next year. I Ana really wanted him early they wouldn’t give up a random for him. Competing teams at the deadline would be cup contenders. So a return of a 1st prospect player type deal would include a mid to late first. So if Ana was to include a 1st it would probably be lotto protected at least top ten.

  8. What about a package that included Lyubushkin, prospects and draft picks for Nylander. The Ducks just got him in a trade with Buffalo. He meshed really well with Reilly the time he spent with the Leafs in 22(a very good Schenn replacement). Gives them a steady, stay at home, physical D, 4M cap savings making them cap compliant and gives them over 2M to actually still use to find a suitable replacement(they will never find someone as good but maybe a Tatar could provide 25-30 goals as a decent fill in much cheaper). Plus the pick(s) and help their weak prospect pipeline. Not the worst deal.

    • Draft picks and prospects are 2 – 3 years away from being off any help to the Leafs and Lyubushkin (whom I like) is not a difference maker.
      I would have to say no.

  9. Well to begin I’ll revisit signing Tavares is where cap issue began & haunt the Leafs now.

    It wasn’t necessary at that time with how the Leafs were trending. All it did was create this problem of how to fit Willy into the cap.

    Yes nobody foresaw the flat cap era but it was a huge gamble that hasn’t paid off or yet.

    That all said it’s priority to resign AM or all of what preceded the idea of signing Tavares was total folly. Yes Dubas has moved on & Treliving now has to navigate the Leafs to a cup. Bruins are weaker which is great news but other divisional teams are still contenders &/or on the rise. A very intense division of quality let alone the Metro is also strong.

    Winning Lord Stanley’s mug never was easy & still is the hardest to win in North American sport for a reason.

    I lean towards Willy being an own team rental while Treliving works on a new contract effort. He won’t come cheap after he signed at a discount before. Worth 8/9.5m imo

    As for the Ducks if he were traded there they have a very interesting group of prospects & picks the Leafs could use to fill the cupboard.

    • Ya Gordie, the Tavares debate is interesting. I could argue either side of it. At the time it seemed like a reasonable risk with the historical increases in cap as a guide. They get a 2nd 1C caliber player, and fill in the rest as the cap continued to rise. In reality most folks expected it rise even more than it had previously as a new US TV deal was on the horizon, and it did in fact increase revenue significantly. And to Tavares credit, he has produced the same as he always has. Gets the gritty type goals in the blue when the playoffs come around around as well.

      I think the Leafs would look very different with another $8-$10M to spend this year. And somewhere in between over the previous 4 years. All with their “core 4” locked in, and other teams best players getting re-upped with a higher cap expected. Who the heck knows, but they would have had some $$ to spend to make the team better.

      Also, if they didn’t lose the Kadri trade, or at least get a different type of D-man than Barrie.

      Here is the list of the cap max’s over the years.


      • Trading Kadri was the domino that was a tough decision. His Leafs passion got the best of him but his loss was the beginning of chasing answers. In hindsight & even back then I would’ve run with keeping him. He bled Maple Leaf blue & over time he’d straighten out his reactions.

        The cap then & now was severely altered after trading him.

        Oh well cannot change the past can we?

      • Nope can’t, I still don’t like talking about how my B’s got ousted in RD 1, because I can’t change it.

        If it makes you feel any better the Leafs appear to be closer to a cup than my B’s this year. At least on paper.

        I think some of the guys the the Leafs room are PO’d enough to do what it takes this year, Tavares being one of them.

      • The Leafs Dcore+ goaltenders have not been on par with any of the past decade+ Cup winners

        Did extra millions to Tavares effect that ? sure.
        is JT the issue? no. he is still the #1 center on many teams.
        the biggest Jt issue as a LEaf was Perrys knee to his head on what should of been an easy ticket to the finals

  10. $10 million for Nylander… a guy whose rink doesn’t have corners… and is fearful of getting hit?
    Oi vey.