Nylander’s magic is a death sentence for Toronto. You can’t let it go, but you can’t keep it either.

Update Post: November 28, 2023 10:53 pm

“Toronto as a whole can look to the start of the NHL regular season as an advantage. Despite four losses in late October and early November, the Leafs were able to quickly return to winning ways. After a successful trip to Sweden, where they successively beat Detroit and Minnesota and extended their winning streak to the same four games, the Maple Leafs jumped into the top four teams in the East, although the standings remain very dense.

The Canadian team is dragged down by its expensive offense. Each of Toronto’s power four is doing well, averaging more than a point per game. Here’s Leafs captain John Tavares, looking slightly overshadowed by his peers; and Mitch Marner, who in a match with the Wild broke Börjo Salming’s record for the fastest time in club history to reach 400 assists; The Canadian did it in 524 games, while the legendary Swedish defender needed 600 games to do it; and, of course, Auston Matthews, along with Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor, leads the NHL’s sniper list with 14 goals.

But this season, William Nylander stands out in one of the most (if not the most) powerful quartets in the league. The Swedish striker has had a truly phenomenal start: he has not left the pitch without making an impact in any of Toronto’s 17 matches since the start of the championship! In the meeting with the “Wilds”, Nylander scored two points: an assist and a winning goal (and what a winning goal!) in overtime.

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William became the second active NHL player with such a scoring streak, equaling Connor McDavid in the 2021/2022 season. Unlike the Edmonton forward, Nylander has the opportunity to improve this number and catch up with Dany Heatley, who holds the 21st century record of 22 games.

In total, the Swede has 27 points (12+15): he is the Maple Leafs’ top scorer by a wide margin (six points), and within the NHL he is surpassed only by the Vancouver super trio Hughes – Miller – Pettersson . , each of whom carried out 28 effective actions each. Nylander is headed for the best season of his career: He has only previously surpassed his points-per-game average once, and he still did it last season, scoring 87 points in 82 regular-season games.

Toronto fans are now completely delighted with the game of William, who almost for the first time in his career shows truly superstar hockey: he scores only two goals less than the profile sniper Matthews, gives as much as the profile assistant Marner and even It makes everything incredibly beautiful.

William Nylander and Auston Matthews

Photo: Claudio Bresciani/AP/TASS

One problem: This is Nylander’s last season under contract with the Leafs. The Swede earns a ridiculous $7 million a year and will probably ask for a considerable raise if he continues producing glasses in the same spirit. Being Toronto’s general manager has been extremely difficult in recent years (Kyle Dubas won’t let you lie), but the next few months are shaping up to be a nightmare for Brad Treliving.

Losing a player like Nylander, especially in his current form, would be a crime, but will the Leafs have the resources to keep him? Most recently, the club re-signed Matthews, giving him the largest cap hit in NHL history, and there is confidence that the Swede’s cap hit will rise to at least $10 million, if not more. Toronto has just 10 players under contract and $34 million in cap space next season, and Nylander isn’t the only one seeking an extension. But he can “eat” about a third of this amount, and then with what money should he re-sign the rest?

So it turns out that this time the Swede’s contract history with the Maple Leafs is unlikely to end in the latter’s favor. In 2018, Nylander missed two months of the regular season due to contract disputes with the club, but just before the deadline he made small concessions and signed a contract on slightly softer terms compared to the initial requests.

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Now the situation is completely different: at least William, if he enters the market, will have the status of an unrestricted free agent, and his reputation is already different: now he is not a young and promising one (although he managed to make a name for himself), player, but a consecrated teacher, who has progressed year after year in a place where many forwards fade in the shadow of the team’s main stars, including Nylander himself. William, it seems, sometimes (this season for sure) even overshadows Tavares, Marner and Matthews, which, combined with the aforementioned factors, makes his position in future negotiations incredibly strong.

“Toronto” finds itself in a situation where any result will be unsuccessful for the team. Losing Nylander means losing not only one of the best players in the league right now, but also a fan favorite who has long since been forgotten in the contract disputes of five years ago. The passionate public in Ontario’s capital simply may not forgive him. However, it must be understood that the decision to keep Nylander (who this time will not make concessions and will insist on his conditions) will mean a failure in building the team’s depth, and this will have an adverse effect on the already low chances of Leafs Cup.

The Maple Leafs are slowly approaching the moment that fans of other NHL clubs had mocked and that Toronto fans themselves were very afraid of: the Leafs have become hostages to the enormous contracts of their top stars, and one of them is about to disappear. with the team’s horizon. The sentence, signed many years ago, will be carried out very soon. For fans of the Canadian club it will be much more offensive to lose Nylander in his best form, which could become even greater; After all, the Swede is only 27 years old. But it seems inevitable: Maybe, at least in William’s last year in Toronto, the team, thanks to his magic, will be able to achieve more than a pass to the second round of the playoffs.

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November 20, 2023 7:39 am