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Maple Leafs Toying with Intriguing Nylander Idea to Up His Trade Value

The Toronto Maple Leafs might try to do something interesting with William Nylander this season. If it works, it will up his trade value.

According to a report by Elliotte Friedman of the 32 Thoughts podcast, the Toronto Maple Leafs are contemplating a potentially bold move with forward William Nylander as they navigate the final year of his contract, which could have significant implications for the team’s future. Suggesting the team could shuffle him around the lineup, the idea of trying Nylander out at center has come up.

General Manager Brad Treliving finds himself at a crossroads, considering both the team’s immediate needs and the long-term consequences of his decisions. The status of William Nylander’s contract is set to be a focal point throughout the season, and Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet’s “32 Thoughts” podcast suggests that discussions are likely to persist. Intriguingly, there have been talks about deploying Nylander in a center role, a position he has experience in from earlier in his career.

William Nylander Maple Leafs extension rumors
William Nylander Maple Leafs extension rumors

Nylander, who is already eyeing a substantial raise that could push his annual average value (AAV) past $10 million, could see his market value skyrocket if he performs well as a center, given the high demand for impact players in that position. However, this potential boost in value could pose challenges for the Maple Leafs in terms of affordability and ideal player deployment.

Related: Reporter Says Maple Leafs Looking for Jack Eichel-Type Trade

If Nylander transitions to center, he would find himself competing for ice time behind both Auston Matthews and potentially John Tavares. While one option would be to move Tavares down to the third line and slot Nylander in at the second center position, this would necessitate reshuffling the team’s wingers, a decision that may not yield optimal results.

At the same time, if the move works and Nylander becomes a highly-coveted player, it only furthers the player’s own belief he should be paid better than the Maple Leafs are currently offering.

Is This About Getting The Most In a Trade?

Mark Masters, a TSN analyst, and former NHL defenseman Jason Strudwick discussed the possibility of the Leafs following a strategy similar to the Buffalo Sabres and Vegas Golden Knights’ approach with the Jack Eichel trade. Masters highlighted that Nylander’s current contract, under $7 million, coupled with his 40-goal scoring record, makes him an appealing asset for the upcoming season. if the Leafs are thinking that trading him is the best or only course of action, the idea is to maximize Nylander’s value while the team still enjoys the benefits of his relatively affordable contract becomes a priority this season –second only to winning.

All that said, Brad Treliving is not ruling out the possibility of extending Nylander’s contract. In a recent meeting with Pierre LeBrun of TSN, Treliving affirmed his commitment to retaining Nylander. He emphasized Nylander’s significance as a talented and integral player to the team’s success. If he can effectively play center and wing, Treliving has even more reason to keep him.

This Nylander Situation Only Gets More Complicated By The Week

While the Maple Leafs aim to secure Nylander’s future in Toronto, they recognize that such negotiations can be intricate, with their unique dynamics and roster questions. As the season unfolds, Treliving and the Maple Leafs will be keeping a close eye on potential opportunities and developments, mindful of the salary cap constraints that come into play during the season. Head coach Sheldon Keefe is going to want to use Nylander where he can be the most helpful, but there’s a balance between team objectives and helping out your GM.

In essence, the Maple Leafs’ approach to William Nylander’s contract negotiations will be a balancing act between immediate and long-term considerations, all while ensuring that they use a talented in the best way possible.

Next: Matthews Deal Already Playing Factor in Dahlin Talks with Sabres

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