While this is not a trade being discussed, nor is there any kind of official link between the two organizations, the idea of Nylander joining the Anaheim Ducks caught some attention this week when the subject was brought up by one analyst who says the marriage makes perfect sense.
Toronto Maple Leafs standout forward William Nylander’s name has been a recurrent topic of discussion throughout this offseason. With his contract expiring after the upcoming season, and his exceptional performance warranting a substantial raise from his current $6,962,366 cap hit, the speculation is justified and many believe a trade is coming, should the Maple Leafs try to avoid letting him walk away in free agency.
Because the Maple Leafs are also facing the task of re-signing superstar center Auston Matthews and managing other pending unrestricted free agents (UFA), there’s a real challenge in retaining Nylander’s services, and as one NHL analyst put it, “there’s just not enough money to go around.”
Nylander name is at the top of The Athletic’s trade bait board from Shayna Goldman and NHL Network’s Mike Rupp was asked about where Nylander might wind up. He noted the Anaheim Ducks were his pick and he tallied off a number of reasons that the deal would make sense for Anaheim and Nylander.
Rupp shared his belief that Nylander’s tenure with the Maple Leafs could be drawing to a close, suggesting a possible trade during the season. He believes it would be beneficial for Nylander to take a central role elsewhere, and he pinpointed the Ducks as an ideal destination due to their youthful core. Led by rising talents such as Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, Mason McTavish, Jamie Drysdale, and Leo Carlsson, Nylander would give that group another weapon in what could become a deadly group of offensive threats and he would be a key part of their long-term future.
So too, their recent offseason moves, acquiring Alex Killorn and Radko Gudas via free agency deals suggests they are looking to be competitive sooner than later and move out of the rebuilding phase in 2023-24.
The Ducks Have The Space And Assets Required for Nylander
With ample cap space, the Ducks possess the means to offer Nylander a contract extension that aligns with his expectations. Whether that reaches $10 million per season isn’t clear but few teams can spend like the Ducks can, should they prioritize the forward as a target.
All the while, if Nylander is picky about where he’d like to go, Anaheim offers some nice benefits for relocation. He can take on a prominent leadership role and would enjoy living in California, something Rupp suggests would appeal to Nylander.
A prospective trade between the Maple Leafs and Ducks would likely involve future assets instead of current NHL players. Anaheim’s young core and recent acquisitions are less likely to be part of a trade deal.
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