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NHL Trades and Rumors

Prospects of Leafs’ Nylander For Flyers’ Sanheim Trade Seems Unlikely

An unsubstantiated rumor seems to be floating around the the Flyers and Maple Leafs might be talking trade involving William Nylander.

There have been rumors of the Philadelphia Flyers interest in William Nylander dating way back. In fact, in 2018, NBC Sports explored the possibility of the Flyers utilizing an offer sheet to land the skilled forward who was going through some contract negotiation issues with the Toronto Maple Leafs at that time. Recently, rumors about the Flyers interest in Nylander popped up again when Eklund from HockeyBuzz noted the Flyers might be poking around Nylander and talking trade.

Related: Why Maple Leafs Fans Should Know the Defense Is Hugely Improved?

HockeyBuzz wrote that a source told them the two teams (Flyers and Leafs) had talks over the past few days with the Flyers regarding a top D-man for Nylander.

First, while HockeyBuzz is an extremely popular site, readers have learned to take their rumors and trade buzz posts with a grain of salt. Their record for correctly predicting discussed trades isn’t terribly high. That said, when you have a site that discusses trade rumors (kind of like we do), being bashed for reporting possible trades comes with the territory – even if all you’re doing is having fun discussing the idea of it.

With that out of the way, we’ve decided to discuss the report simply because we’re not sure it’s a possibility even if the two sides were actually interested in working something out.

What Might the Flyers and Leafs Be “Discussing”

When Eklund notes:

Fletcher has ALWAYS loved Nylander, to the point that a deal almost occurred that would have sent Nylander to the Wild just minutes prior to Nylander signing his deal with the Leafs a few Decembers ago.

We won’t deny that this could be true. The Flyers need offense and Nylander certainly provides that. That said, outside of the fact Toronto has shied away from moving any of their ‘big four’, the Leafs have essentially noted they are done making moves this offseason. So too, the NHL trade market has grinded to a halt with so much uncertainly surrounding the format for a 2020-21 NHL season.

via thesportster

As for who the Maple Leafs might be interested in, if Travis Sanheim is the intended target, there is good and bad when it comes to that kind of deal.

First the good. The salary situation works for both teams. The Maple Leafs need cap room and bringing Sanheim in while moving Nylander out would improve the Leafs’ cap situation. So too, there’s no doubt the Flyers would love to add Nylander’s offense — although Flyers’ fans will say he may be one of the softest players to ever put on a Flyers uniform if that came to pass.

The bad. Would the Leafs do this deal one-for-one?

Related: Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Struggling Financially from COVID-19

The Leafs Would Need More

Sanheim is solid young defenseman, one year from restricted free agency. Overall, his point production remains so-so but it is there — he posted 35 points in 208-19 and 25 points in 68 games during the shortened 2019-20 season. He’s not reached his ceiling yet, but there are questions about how high his ceiling actually is.

Meanwhile, Nylander is a very effective forward all-but guaranteed to produce. While Sanheim is improving and may become a strong asset, moving Nylander for him is a risk.

The Leafs would first have to re-sign Sanheim, then ensure that the net difference gives GM Kyle Dubas enough space to tackle other things… namely Morgan Rielly’s upcoming extension.

It’s a Lot of What If

If the Leafs are going to move Nylander, the idea would be to know it’s the right move for the organization when the trigger is pulled. If Dubas can’t fully see that sending the forward out is unequivocally the best move for the franchise, he doesn’t do it.

And, as the NHL continues to try and put the pieces of a 2020-21 NHL season together, now just doesn’t seem like the right time to be less-than certain.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. perttujunnonaho

    December 3, 2020 at 9:14 pm

    We as Flyers should explore this trade next off season at the earliest, because by then we now better how good Sanheim can be, and also after this season we have others like York and Zamula coming to replace Sanheim! But otherwise this swap could work!

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