Toronto Maple Leafs Can No Longer Trade William Nylander

William Nylander #88 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
William Nylander #88 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs are yet to sign William Nylander to a contract extension (or Auston Matthews, for that matter).

William Nylander has been the target of (mostly stupid) trade rumours for the entire duration of his contract.

The Toronto Sports Media decided one day that he should be traded, and since Kyle Dubas didn’t oblige (which was possibly the first time they failed to run someone out of town in team history) they didn’t give up.

Who can forget such classic trade proposals as this:

I personally spent much of the last five years making fun of these proposals and properly rating and appreciating Nylander.

Earlier in the summer, however, I was of the belief that one way the Toronto Maple Leafs could solve their terrible blue-line by trading Nylander for an elite, #1 defenseman, or one in the making. 

That is no longer possible.

Toronto Maple Leafs Can No Longer Trade William Nylander

I wouldn’t have wanted to trade Nylander, but the Leafs could fix their blueline by moving Nylander to another team in exchange for either a top defenseman making similar money or solve their cap problems by trading their established superstar for a potential star on an entry-level deal.

Unfortunately, once Alex DeBrincat was traded, that most likely became impossible.

The Senators traded DeBrincat to the Red Wings earlier this summer for a pretty disappointing package.  The Sens got a conditional first (lotto protected) and a bunch of crap for a player who is younger than Nylander and has a higher career high in goals.

I don’t know that he’s necessarily better than Nylander, but given their ages and career highs, I doubt anyone is going to pay significantly more for Nylander than the Wings paid for DeBrincat.

Sure, Nylander has another year on his deal, but he’s also requesting $10 million dollars.

The Wings were able to sign Debrincat to a four-year deal that pays him under $8 million dollars, and takes him to his age 29 season.  Whereas, any team that signs Nylander is going to have to pay him more money, for longer, and keep him into his 30s when he is declining.

Given what the wings paid for a younger, cheaper, high-scoring player, it doesn’t seem likely someone is going to come along and pay the Toronto Maple Leafs what they’d need to make a Nylander trade sensible.

Certainly a first-rounder is of no interest to a team hoping to win the Stanley Cup this year.

Additionally, Nylander is the Toronto Maple Leafs best contract, and will make under $7 million for this upcoming season.

It would be better to keep Nylander this year and lose him for nothing in the off-season rather than trade him now for a crappy return.  The fact you get to keep him and try to win now is probably much more desirable than whatever package he’d likely fetch in a trade.

Going for the Modern Day Goal Record. dark. Next

Of course, that all changes if someone offers a possible #1 defenseman, or even an unproven but potential superstar making rookie-money.  But realistically, the Leafs can’t trade him now.  They had a chance but that was before Ottawa set the market with a really bad trade.