The Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander seem to be at an impasse. Do the additions of Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi give the team the flexibility it needs to move on from William Nylander?
After a slow Day 1 to the free-agent signing season, the Maple Leafs’ off-season has seen significant acquisitions, which include Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi. These additions raise questions about the future of star forward William Nylander. If he and the team are really at an impasse, does the team now have the flexibility to move on from him?
In the short video below, NHL insider Frank Seravalli discusses the situation and gives his insights about the Maple Leafs’ off-season moves.
Nylander’s Future Is Suddenly Uncertain
The status of Nylander with the Maple Leafs has been a subject of speculation. Seravalli seems to believe there’s a disconnect between the price Nylander wants to be paid in his next contract and what the team is willing to pay. As a result, other hockey insiders also believe that Nylander has put himself at a higher level regarding the value the Maple Leafs are willing to pay. They’re not yet at a dead end, but the question remains if there’s a willingness to trade Nylander if necessary.
The Team Now Has Flexibility with the Signings of Bertuzzi and Domi
Signing Bertuzzi and Domi provides the Maple Leafs with more flexibility than they’ve had. Seravalli wonders now what happens if new Maple Leafs’ GM Brad Treliving decides he must trade Nylander before he walks for nothing. In that case, these two additions give the team several options that help avoid the loss of offense his departure would create.
Certainly, it won’t be an easy decision to move on from a player of Nylander’s offensive ability. However, Treliving has been burned before in Calgary when the Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau walked to free agency without compensation. Now there’s a chance Treliving is not willing to take that chance again.
In addition, having both Bertuzzi and Domi helps to ensure the team has scoring options in case Treliving wants to move on a trade.
Bertuzzi’s Impact Might Be Impressive
Bertuzzi has never played for a contender until last season when he went to the Boston Bruins at the trade deadline. However, even when he was surrounded by players who were not elite scorers he put up solid points. He’s known for his grit and scoring; and, in addition, he brings a physical presence to the Maple Leafs’ lineup. He might not match Nylander’s goal-scoring numbers directly, but he contributes to the team’s overall offensive threat.
Between he and Domi last season – and Bertuzzi was injured, the twosome scored 28 goals and combined for 86 points between them. It would seem there’s potential for them to fill the offensive void that would be left if Nylander departed.
Domi Brings His Own Skill Set
Domi adds another dimension to the Maple Leafs’ lineup. He’s a solid playmaker. Again, Domi might not have the same scoring output as Nylander. However, his on-ice creativity and vision would give the team some healthy offensive options. If he can stay healthy, he could help compensate for Nylander’s absence.
The Bottom Line
All this talk might be hugely speculative. For sure, the Maple Leafs and Nylander have not officially reached a dead end. However, if Nylander wants to stay with the team, he might need to mediate his demands.
Treliving might be hesitant to be burned again. And, Bertuzzi and Domi offer flexible options. If a trade were to occur, you would have to think the new Maple Leafs GM believes he has it – somewhat – covered.
The upcoming regular season is approaching. It would not seem that the Maple Leafs would be willing to go into the season with Nylander unsigned. The question would be: What would the team be willing to do?
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