With the Toronto Maple Leafs forward still without a deal, the likelihood of trade grows. The New York Islanders make sense as a possible destination.
Toronto Maple Leafs restricted free agent William Nylander still hasn’t signed a contract extension with the team that drafted him eighth overall in 2014. The New York Islanders should step up to make a trade for the talented center.
The 22-year-old 61 point player from last season still hasn’t agreed on a contract with the Leafs. We know that both sides are still at odds over the AAV of any possible contract extension. The Leafs don’t want to go over $6.5 million while Nylander wants $8 million.
With Leafs President Brendan Shanahan stating that players should take less for the good of the team, it doesn’t seem likely that the Leafs budge. Creating a firm impass for the talented Nylander to get paid.
The Islanders could not only pay Nylander, but they could play him in his preferred position. They could even give the Leafs something that they desire; defense.
What’s The Fit?
William Nylander is a centerman. With the trio of Auston Matthews, John Tavares, and Nazim Kadri the Maple Leafs are set at center. Pushing Nylander out to the wing. To be fair, Nylander has performed very well on the wing scoring 135 points in 185 NHL games.
For the New York Islanders, a team that’s using Brock Nelson as their second line center, he represents a clear upgrade.
Brock Nelson has played well early in the 2018-19 season. But at his best Brock is a 45 point player. Nylander has put up back-to-back 61 point seasons. Pair him with 40 goal scorer Anders Lee and playmaker Jordan Eberle and there’s no reason to doubt Nylander could put up another 61 points, if not more.
That would give the Islanders a good top six along with what seems to be a good bottom six.
What About the Cost?
The Islanders, like the Leafs, have the room to sign Nylander to an $8 million deal. But unlike the Leafs the Islanders should be willing to move about $6.5 million. For good reason.
Mark Stone, a center, who’s scored an average of 60.25 points over the last four seasons just signed a single year $7.35 million deal with the Ottawa Senators. A center who’s just as productive and is four years young could, and should get at least $7.5 million.
Nick Leddy is now playing on the New York Islanders second defensive pairing. He’s averaging about half a minute of ice time less so far in this early season. As Ryan Pulock continues his progress Leddy’s ice-time might dip a bit more.
All that to say that Nick Leddy isn’t untradable. The New York Islanders have defensive depth that they can absorb the loss of Leddy if the gain is a top six center.
With Leddy gone, Devon Toews now has a spot on the right side on the Islanders second pair. A perfect fit for the 24-year-old defender.
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Lou Lamoriello knows William Nylander’s value. Going after his former player makes sense. He’s a fit for the Islanders, and the Islanders can give the Maple Leafs something they could use as well.