The Toronto Maple Leafs are off to a decent start with a 5-2-1 record through eight games. William Nylander currently leads the team in points with 12. He has six goals and six assists and is one point ahead of Leafs captain John Tavares.
Some Toronto Maple Leafs fans still hate Nylander and would trade him without a second thought. Here, you have a player who registered 40 goals and 47 assists for 87 points in 82 games last season. He also recorded ten points in 11 games during the 2023 NHL playoffs.
(Stats from hockey-reference.com)
Nylander is on pace for 61 goals and 61 assists for 122 points over 82 games. Of course, that may not happen, but how can you hate a player on your team with that kind of potential? I understand this is a contract year for Nylander, and trading a pending free agent with his star status would land the Leafs a good return. However, I would rather see him re-sign long-term.
The perfect time to re-sign Nylander would be while the Leafs are over in Sweden for two games in November. They will join the Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, and Ottawa Senators in Stockholm, Sweden, from November 16-19th. The Leafs will play the Red Wings on November 17th and the Wild on November 19th.
Toronto Maple Leafs Need to Pay Nylander
William Nylander has turned into the Leafs second-best goal scorer. He deserves to get paid. Nylander believes that he took a team discount last time when he signed for $6.9 million, only to see Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews both sign for over $10 million. I can’t blame him for wanting similar money.
Last season, when talks started regarding Nylander’s next contract, I took a guess and said he should get between $8.5 million and $9 million on a long-term deal.
After last season and the start he’s having this season, I think that number will be over $10 million when he finally signs.
The critics will say that’s too much and that the Leafs should trade him. It wouldn’t be easy to replace the points he brings to the team, and it’s hard to see the Leafs winning any trade that includes Nylander going the other way.
I don’t think you can call yourself a true fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs if you hate Nylander despite everything he brings to the team.
Yes, trading Nylander would allow the Leafs to acquire help on defense, but other trades could help with that. The only scenario I’m okay with the Leafs trading Nylander is if he hasn’t signed a new deal by the NHL trade deadline. And even then, it would still likely be better to keep him for the playoffs and take a chance at a Stanley Cup then make the team worse with a bad trade made under pressure.
The Leafs will look bad if they lose him for nothing, but that is a thing they have to at least be willing to do in order to avoid getting swindled in a trade or overpaying their player. Hopefully, it doesn’t come down to that, but we’ll wait and see.