The Toronto Maple Leafs are not trading William Nylander.
It’s a long summer and you’ve got to explore every option, but this isn’t happening. I don’t mind though, writing the monthly post about how good Nylander is, and how dumb of an idea trading him would be, is turning out to be a great past-time.
It wasn’t smart to trade a young Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall, and the Leafs don’t want to make the same mistake.
After years of bad teams, Leafs fans got spoiled when they got Marner and Matthews in back-to-back years, so of course they forget that Nylander was – before those two – the best player the Leafs had drafted in a couple of decades.
At least since they drafted Tomas Kaberle – who should probably be in the Hall of Fame, a place that William Nylander will one day end up.
Last year Nylander cracked 60 points for the second year in a row, and he did it despite suffering a nearly 50% drop in power-play points. This might not sound like a big deal, but power-play points are kind of random. The reason most analysts focus on 5v5 scoring is because it’s far more repeatable and tells you far more about the player.
William Nylander finished last year with 45 5v5 points, one less than MVP Taylor Hall. He was in a tie for the top 20, and if Matthews didn’t miss 25% of the season I am confident in saying that Nylander would have been a top ten 5v5 scorer, since he only needed four extra points to do so.
The public might not recognize it as such, but it’s more impressive to be a top 10 5v5 scorer than to be top ten overall.
So that’s the player people think it’s OK to trade: someone who is a little power-play luck away from being a top ten scorer in the NHL.
Toronto Maple Leafs fans are always trying to trade him, even though, statistically, he’s every bit as good as Mitch Marner, and arguably better.
I’ve heard people call him soft (about as credible as those who bash Jake Gardiner) and I’ve heard people say he can’t play defense (weird, since for his career, he’s been on the ice for more shot-attempts, shots, scoring chances and goals than he’s allowed).
I even heard people criticize his playoff performance, even though he was over 50% CF and got four points in seven games despite Matthews not scoring and having to face the best line in the NHL every time he stepped on the ice).
So you can’t trust his critics, because, frankly, they’ve made up their minds and have no evidence to back up their claims. They are completely, objectively, wrong.
Nylander is on a Hall of Fame path, he’s on the verge of being a scoring title threat and he’s one of the best young players in the NHL.
So he’s not for sale.
Expect him to sign a long-term contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs any day now.