Toronto Maple Leafs should Trade Nylander for P.K. Subban

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 15: P.K. Subban /

The Nashville Predators need firepower and the Toronto Maple Leafs need defense.

William Nylander’s ongoing contract dilemma has sparked suggestions that the Toronto Maple Leafs should trade him. This article proposes that the Leafs should discuss a trade with the Nashville Predators.

After being eliminated from the Stanley Cup Western Conference semi-finals by a score of 5-1 on home ice (a truly devastating loss), the Predators could surely use a shakeup of personnel and the injection of some extra fire power in their line up.

Who and what could the Toronto Maple Leafs offer them that would provide the offensive flair they need?

If I were GM Kyle Dubas, I’d offer Nashville:
William NylanderJake Gardiner + a 1st Round Draft Pick in exchange for P.K. Subban.

The Pieces of the Trade

William Nylander

Nylander is an elite hockey player.  In a perfect world, he’d have re-signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs over the summer, and fans would be laughing at how stacked Toronto’s forward depth is.  Our world isn’t perfect however.  Nylander didn’t resign.  He is stuck in a contract standoff with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

I’ve calculated his value at somewhere around 6.7M AAV per season.  Who knows what Nylander is actually demanding?

All Leafs fans know for sure is that the Toronto Maple Leafs top brass and William Nylander disagree. We don’t know how far apart they actually are in negotiations.  Their dispute could range from anywhere to one to two million per year (over a six to eight year contract that is a disagreement amounting to well over ten million dollars).

With that said, perhaps the Leafs could enter into a sign-and-trade type agreement with Nashville where the two teams form a conditional agreement to a trade that succeeds  Nylander resigning with Toronto for $8,000,000 AAV per year for eight years.

Nylander has had consecutive 61 point seasons, and he is only 22 years old.  He has a lot of upside and potential. Looking at Nylander’s career stats, and trimming out the 23 game call up from 2015/16 when he was 19 years old, it becomes evident that Willy is going to grow into an elite scorer, if he isn’t already.

In 163 regular season games since 2016/17, the year Matthews began playing for the Leafs, Nylander has scored 42 goals and 80 assists.  That’s good for 0.748 points per game over the last two seasons.

Some writers at Editor and Leaf value Nylander nearly equally to Marner.  I do not.  I think Marner is more valuable.  But that disagreement of opinion just goes to show you that there are hockey minds out there who rate Nylander highly.

It isn’t unreasonable to propose trading Nylander for Subban simply because the Leafs are very strong at the forward position, yet very weak on the right side of their blue line; whereas, Nashville has the opposite problem (i.e., Nashville is strong on defense but has a forward crew that could use an upgrade after being beaten 5-1 on home ice against the Winnipeg Jets in game seven of the 2017/18 Playoffs).

Jake Gardiner

Jake Gardiner is a talented player, who is Mike Babcock’s most trusted 5v5 defenseman. He is also a pending UFA who it may not be possible to re-sign.

Morgan Rielly is finally unlocking his true potential and stepping up as the Leafs number one LHD.  The Leafs need to go shopping and get him a competent top flight right handed defensemen to complete their top defensive pairing!

P.K. Subban, born in Toronto Ontario, is the man for that job.

P.K. Subban

Subban is unquestionably an elite defensemen in the NHL – he has won a Norris and was a runner up last season.  With P.K., when it’s time to hold a lead in the third period, the Leafs will roll out Rielly and Subban (two of the best mobile defensemen in the league), and few pucks will ever pass Andersen’s goal line.

Subban plays the right side and will add balance to the Leafs attack, as well allowing them to move Travis Dermott into a top four role.  If the Leafs could add Subban, it’d be a no-brainer.  He’s one of the best players in the NHL and his addition would be on the same level as when Tavares signed here.

1st Round Pick

Nylander and Gardiner alone may not pry Subban from Nashville.  A first round draft pick would have to be included in the transaction (which is fine, the Leafs young core is currently set for years; the priority now is contending not rebuilding).

Cap Implications

For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume Nylander wants to resign for about $8,000,000.

If Toronto send his eight million dollar contract (or whatever he resigns for) over to Nashville with Jake Gardiner’s $4,050,000 cap hit; they are sending away $12,050,000 of players in exchange for Subban’s $9,000,000 cap hit (a savings of just over $3,000,000 per season).

Since Nylander is not playing for the Leafs currently, the only offensive production the Leafs lose from their offensively charged 2018/19 incarnation is whatever Gardiner can produce. Clearly Subban is a large upgrade over Gardiner.

Next. Bad Nylander Takes. dark

Not to mention, Subban was born in Toronto (I heavily favor Toronto born players), so he’ll play his heart out for the Leafs; especially when he gets a chance to have revenge on the Habs four times per season.

Thanks for reading!