Toronto Maple Leafs: Constant Nylander Rumours Symptom of Much Larger Problem

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MARCH 27: William Nylander #29 of the Toronto Maple Leafs moves around Radko Gudas #3 of the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at the Wells Fargo Center on March 27, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MARCH 27: William Nylander #29 of the Toronto Maple Leafs moves around Radko Gudas #3 of the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at the Wells Fargo Center on March 27, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs might have the NHL’s best roster.

The Toronto Maple Leafs put their fans through some awful years, but they paid off when the team drafted William Nylander, Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and then signed John Tavares.

The team didn’t stop there – they hired the best President in Team history and then brought in a young, progressive genius that defied the NHL’s Boy’s Club and turned the 200 Hockey Men out on their collective asses.

Figuratively of course.

The Problem With Trying to Affect Change

In response to Kyle Dubas trying to shake up how things are always done in the NHL, a number of ridiculous things have occurred. Upset that someone wants to deviate from the way that things have always been done, and mad that someone sees things differently than they do, people have responded in some pretty immature ways.

Other GM’s have made anonymous comments to Steve Simmons about his popularity.  They gave the best GM award to the guy he replaced, who was so obviously undeserving of it, that it could only be seen as a dig.  It was the NHL equivalent of teaching a dolphin to kick a field goal then giving it a jersey with the number of the team’s former kicker.

From Brian Burke on down, the media constantly second guesses everything he does, and then they use unlucky results to show how they were right all along, while ignoring the easy to access information that shows they weren’t. (Like the Leafs being 8th overall under Keefe, despite getting mid-20s goaltending, or losing to Columbus despite a 1.9% shooting percentage).

They said he couldn’t keep his Big Three. They said he couldn’t sign John Taveres. They said he would have to trade one of his Big Four to get a defensemen. They criticized his salary cap management.

But Dubas has come out on top every time, and it seems like this embarrasses the so called experts. He signed Nylander and Matthews and Marner.  He got Tavares.

He got out of the Marleau deal (ironically the biggest example of the Leafs making a salary cap mistake had nothing to do with Dubas) then got back the pick.  Critics, amazingly, still found something about this operatic high-wire performance not to like.  They ignore all the evidence that shows that Dubas is, objectively speaking, putting on an absolute clinic in salary cap management. 

Dubas built in enough flexibility to his team, and was so good as uncovering talent and drafting, that he was able to trade Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen so that he could add the right-side top pairing player everyone said he couldn’t get because of the money invested in the four forwards.

But he did it.

Where was the praise? Where was the ‘well I didn’t think he could do it, but dammit he pulled it off’ mea cuplas?

Nah, better for Craig Button, the second most prominent NHL analyst after Burke, to go on TV and say that the Canadiens (who finished behind the Leafs then had a terrible off-season where they traded one of their most skilled players for a third line checker) are the better team.

Absolutely no evidence confirms this, but the Canadiens follow the ancient Craig Button blueprint for team building, while the Leafs have disregarded and even mocked it with their moves.

In the playoffs this year, the Toronto Maple Leafs lost by one goal to a team that couldn’t contain their offense at all, but whose goalies put on one of the flukiest and craziest performances in NHL history.  Even though being “goalied” is a VERY common thing in the NHL, did Burke, Button and Jeff O’Neil point this out to their huge audiences?

Nope. They played up the fact that you can’t win with four forwards taking most of the money. They didn’t criticize the obviously deficient officiating that all but banned the Leafs from getting power-plays; they didn’t talk about how great the Leafs defense was, or how Columbus literally had the best goaltending in a playoff series in NHL history.

Nope. They just offered more made-up William Nylander rumours, because Nylander is the guy the Leafs chose over them.  He’s the avatar for Kyle Dubas’ attempt to upset the Old Boys Club.

The motivation for the mainstream media to hate the Leafs is understandable enough, but it is just sad to see fans fall for it – Nylander is one of the best players in Leafs history, but some people don’t like him because they’ve been manipulated by people who are upset that the Toronto Maple Leafs had the gall to try to do things differently than they have always been done.

Even if you hate the Leafs, you should be cheering for them to win a Cup this year, because if they do, the critics will have no choice but to admit they were wrong, and the last gasp of the 200 Hockey Men will be upon us.  The Leafs winning will make hockey better for everyone.

Next. Leafs Top 10 Prospects. dark

At the very least they will end the daily barrage of William Nylander trade rumours.