The Minnesota Wild would be wise to at least give the Toronto Maple Leafs a call about a trade for still unsigned winger, William Nylander.
Whilst the salary cap hit would no doubt be steep for the Minnesota Wild, William Nylander has a talent level that rarely is available on the market.
Whether the Toronto Maple Leafs would let him go is a whole different question, but fact is that right now the player remains unsigned.
The first round (8th overall) pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft initially projected to be a center and has had a taste of NHL action in the position. He, however, these days finds himself on the wing of the Leafs’ first line (when not disputing his contract) alongside Auston Matthews.
The Minnesota Wild would be wise to get in contact with the Leafs as he could be the center to build their team around. We’ve seen the Montreal Canadiens take Max Domi and work on molding him into a center; Nylander could be the Wild’s project.
If he gets what he wants which is an $8.5 million deal, he could prove cheap for a top-tier center. If he was acquired to play the wing at that price, he’s another over-pay for the Minnesota Wild.
The biggest negative though would be what you have to give up in order to bring in such a player. The Wild don’t have the cap space to even consider an offer sheet and would be unwise to sacrifice so many futures in order to do so.
To bring in Nylander would be to surrender a big cap hit and one that the Maple Leafs would want. The only player I can see fitting that bill is Matt Dumba, and even then you’re probably still trading an A-grade prospect for maybe a B-grade one in return on top of that.
Does it make a whole ton of sense?
It really depends which side of the fence you sit on.
The Minnesota Wild are lacking a scoring punch and whilst Nylander isn’t known necessarily for scoring, he provides a ton of assists, zone entries and generally pushes the puck towards the offensive zone.
That skill set is something that is very much-needed by a team bereft of scoring.
Giving up Dumba though might make it all a stretch too far. He is the one player on the team that I think may pique Leafs’ interest, but in losing him, you’re losing a component of the defense that last year proved he was near elite.
Any sort of trade for Nylander is unlikely at this stage, especially as contract negotiations remain ongoing, but Paul Fenton could do worse things than pick up the phone and have a chat to his Maple Leafs’ counterpart, Kyle Dubas.