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Maple Leafs Quick Hits: Nylander All-Star Snub & Going After Lagesson

The Toronto Maple Leafs William Nylander wasn’t named to the All-Star team. Why was that wrong? Does the team need William Lagesson?

In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ Quick Hits, I’ll comment upon some of the news and considerations emerging from the team. The Maple Leafs await their next game, which will be on Saturday against the New York Islanders.

Related: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs 6-3 Loss to the Rangers

Item One: William Nylander Should Be in the NHL All-Star Game

Maple Leafs’ fans know that both Auston Matthews and Jack Campbell have received All-Star calls. However, one player on the team who hasn’t is William Nylander. That seems to be a shame to me.

Nylander has 37 points to date this season. However, he’s more than a scorer. He’s driving the offense; he’s playing both ways on special teams; and, can he wind it up and stickhandle through the neutral zone like few other NHL players. He’s exciting and, to the surprise of many, he’s really a hard-working player. He also plays defense.

William Nylander, Maple Leafs

Nylander is going to have a career season that tops his two former 61-point totals earlier in his career. Not only that, he’s shown he’s crucial to the Maple Leafs’ success since last postseason. He flat out deserves to get to the All-Star Game and it’s a shame he hasn’t been selected.

Maple Leafs’ hockey fans will have to be content watching Matthews and Campbell represent their team at the event. 

Item Two: Time to Go After Edmonton Oilers’ William Lagesson

Every team seems to have players the management or coaching staff has lost faith in. That’s true with young defenseman William Lagesson of the Edmonton Oilers. 

For Maple Leafs’ fans who don’t know Lagesson, he’s a 25-year-old Swedish left-shot defenseman who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 207 pounds. He was drafted by the Oilers in the fourth round (91st overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He’s kicked around the Oilers’ organization, but never has stuck on the roster and has been a healthy scratch regularly. 

But, his analytics are good and he shows enough talent that he might improve the Maple Leafs’ defense. In addition, he makes $725,000 on his current contract. That might make him both an upgrade on the Maple Leafs’ defense and an improvement to the team’s salary-cap numbers.

There is one caveat. As Jon Steitzer noted in his hockey post on Wednesday, Lagesson’s minutes are soft compared to defensemen such as the Oilers’ Darnell Nurse. However, Lagesson is at the top of the Oilers’ defensemen in two advanced statistics [xGF% (expected goals for percentage) and CF% (Corsi for percentage). 

Lagesson has only played in 10 games and hasn’t played much in those games. However, he’s been successful when he’s played. Still, the Oilers just won’t give him a solid chance to play.

Now that Lafgesson has passed through waivers, he’s a potential trade possibility. If the Maple Leafs want to make a move that saves them salary-cap space, would the Oilers think Travis Dermott is an option for them? 

I think Lagesson’s worth asking about. If he happens to become a UFA this summer, sign him. We know how successful the Maple Leafs were last summer with another Group Six Free Agent – Michael Bunting.

Related: Maple Leafs Open to Clearing Cap Space Before Trade Deadline

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. gfinale

    January 21, 2022 at 10:35 am

    Agreed that Nylander has played hard and well since last post-season. Unfortunately for him, many people still aren’t happy about his extreme hold out and his lazy and disengaged play for long periods of time every season and most playoffs. I don’t think it fair to declare him a really hard working player with the implication that he’s always that way, next week he could very well be lazy again. In fact, I’m reserving judgement about him until he has played 2 full seasons and 2 playoffs hard and not slacked off to lazy and disengaged. I think, instead of John Tavares being voted for it as a last resort or something, Nylander should have been at this point but that Matthews and Campbell deserved the primary votes more than Nylander.

    • Old Prof

      January 21, 2022 at 11:50 am

      You might be right about the jury being out still for the hard-working aspect of his play – but he seemed to have turned a corner to me –

  2. gfinale

    January 21, 2022 at 10:52 am

    If Lagesson isn’t a better option for top 4 than Holl, Dermott, Liljegren and Sandin then it seems he would just get in their way and take up their important development minutes. this article seems to be implying that Lagesson is a better option than Dermott.

  3. Old Prof

    January 21, 2022 at 11:51 am

    Yes – I guess that’s what I’m saying – Dermott might be moved sooner – I’m not sure the organization thinks he can take the next step.

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