William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates with the puck.
Photo credit: The Athletic

Elliotte Friedman Reports That A Major William Nylander Trade Fell Apart

Published January 8, 2024 at 1:52 PM
BY TOM BANKS
     
After months and months of speculation, the Toronto Maple Leafs finally locked up their young star, but according to a report, things could have been very different.

Toronto almost traded William Nylander?



While most expected this deal to eventually get done, this past summer, things could have gone in a drastically different way, as revealed by NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman.

On the latest episode of the 32 Thoughts podcast, the renowned NHL insider revealed that if Toronto could find a trade for a game-changing defenseman, they would have been willing to move the 27-year old.


"I think this is the key thing. I think over the summer, the Toronto Maple Leafs made it clear they would consider trading William Nylander for a top defenseman and there just wasn't anything out there. Part of the reason is that teams that were going to trade for him didn't know if they were going to be able to sign him. So, nobody is trading a top defenseman or a really good defenseman for a Nylander that you don't know if you're going to be able to sign. Look at how hard this negotiation was going to be for Toronto. It wasn't going to be any easier anywhere else. So that made it difficult for Toronto to make a deal, they had no deal to make.

I think from the beginning of the season until just before Christmas when Toronto re-engaged, and I think a lot of this started again just after their trip to Sweden... I think the Maple Leafs went through the league and said 'if we let him go and we use that money on the blueline, who is the defenseman we could go get and be impactful enough to fix the loss of Nylander and his production?...They said there is not a defenseman they can get their hands on who is worth losing this player."


A deal finally gets done for the beloved forward




Eventually though, the team re-engaged in extension talks with the star forward after his 54 points in 37 games start to the seasons, and would ultimately agree on an eight-year, $11.25 AAV deal.


Now the question for Maple Leafs fans becomes how can they improve on the blue line and in net with over 50% of their salary cap dedicated to the Core Four, and with the trade deadline looming, we may get our answer soon.


As Read on Maple Leafs Daily - Nylander reportedly almost traded before signing his extention in Toronto
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Elliotte Friedman Reports That A Major William Nylander Trade Fell Apart

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