Toronto Maple Leafs May Be “Open” to Complete Disaster

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 22: William Nylander
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 22: William Nylander /

The Toronto Maple Leafs remain in an impasse with William Nylander.

According to TSN, the Toronto Maple Leafs may be open to trading William Nylander.

Make no mistake, this would be an absolute disaster.

If the Leafs trade Nylander, it will be a complete and utter failure. It will be one of the worst things ever to happen to a franchise that has a history of disastrous player transactions.

Trading the draft pick that became  Robert Luongo?  The one that became Scott Niedermeyer?  That time the Leafs had to make moves to avoid finishing last because they traded their draft pick and didn’t want to give away Eric Lindros?

Trading Nylander would be just as bad.

Don’t Do It!

Despite the ridiculous takes by people who criticize things they don’t understand, or those who get angry when they don’t get what they want, William Nylander is a core player, he’s a franchise level player and he is one of the best wingers in the NHL.

You don’t trade that.

Statistically, Nylander is very similar to Taylor Hall, who became the NHL’s MVP after being traded for a decent top four defenseman. It was one of the single worst trades in NHL history.

The Hurricanes are a rumoured destination, with people thinking Nylander for Brett Pesce is a reasonable idea.

Just one question: Are you out of your mind?

That is a trade the Leafs lose all day every day.  Doesn’t matter if Carolina adds to it or not, you don’t trade elite players.

In the NHL, elite players have so much impact that any kind of quality for quantity trade is dead on arrival.  The history of trading young elite forwards 22 or under is brutal.

Making a good trade for Nylander is a historical impossibility.


Meeting Nylander’s asking price and completely caving would be a preferable outcome for the Leafs than trading him would be.

They lucked into a top three quality draft pick at the eighth position.  That is the kind of good fortune winning teams need to elevate themselves.  You don’t blow that because of cap concerns.

If the Leafs meet Nylander’s asking price, the irony is that it’s still going to be a cheap deal compared to what the player produces in two or three years time.  Other than establishing Kyle Dubas reputation as a negotiator, it’s hard to see what this impasse accomplishes.  At the end of the day, Matthews, Marner and Nylander are going to cost a ton.  A couple million either way isn’t going to make a difference.

Consider this:Hainsey, Marleau and Zaitsev combine to make 14 million dollars.  All are replaceable with any random AHL call-up.  So if the Leafs need cap space, there are options.

Failure to sign Nylander will mark Kyle Dubas term as the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs as a complete failure.  He will not recover from making a bad trade and blowing the opportunity the Leafs have this year in the last year of the ELC contracts of two of the best players in the NHL.

Last year, Nylander scored 48 5v5 points last year, a rate of 2.4 points per 60 minutes of ice time.

Sidney Crosby scored 35 5v5 points last year, a rate of 1.66 points per 60. They both played 82 games.

Now, Nylander wasn’t on the first unit of the power play last year (not his fault) but if we track all players since he came into the NHL, his 5.89 p/60 on the power-play rank him 29th in the NHL.

Connor McDavid ranks 30th over the same time span.

So don’t tell me the Toronto Maple Leafs can trade William Nylander for Brett Pesce.  Don’t tell me that he is expendable, or that his agent doesn’t know what he’s doing.  Nylander is worth what he’s asking if you dig into the statistics.  The only difference between Nylander and Marner is that Marner was on the first PP last season.

Yeah, Nylander had Matthews, but Marner played some of the most sheltered minutes in the league.  At 5v5 there is barely any difference between them.

Both are among the best in the NHL.

Nylander is a franchise player.  I reiterate: trading him will be a complete failure on the part of the Leafs and will taint and ruin Dubas’ career as an NHL GM.

Next. Trade Possibilities. dark

There is a zero percent chance the Leafs can trade Nylander in a trade that works out positively for them.

Just pay him already.

I am excited to have Kyle Dubas as the Leafs GM, and I may be his biggest supporter.  But if he blows this, he’ll go from his current exalted status to sub-John Ferguson JR faster than you can say Gerry McNamera.

stats from