Minnesota Wild: Need to take advantage of the William Nylander circus

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 08: Toronto Maple Leafs Right Wing William Nylander (29) skates with the puck during the first period of the NHL regular season game between the Minnesota Wild and the Toronto Maple Leafs on November 8, 2017, at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, ON, Canada. (Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 08: Toronto Maple Leafs Right Wing William Nylander (29) skates with the puck during the first period of the NHL regular season game between the Minnesota Wild and the Toronto Maple Leafs on November 8, 2017, at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, ON, Canada. (Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Wild need to take advantage of the William Nylander circus tonight, as the Toronto Maple Leafs head to St. Paul.

Whilst the idea of a move to the Minnesota Wild has been floated as an option for the Toronto Maple Leafs to explore, most expect (and rightly so) William Nylander to sign a new contract with his first and only NHL team.

However, as all hockey fans have seen lately, any deal is going to be very much last-minute; this surely has to be a distraction for the Maple Leafs’ players and coaching staff alike.

Editor’s Note: That deal has now arrived and will no doubt be the talk of the town in the pre-game media scrum and in the locker-room; even though it’s a positive outcome for Toronto, it can still be a distraction.

Despite a rough patch of games, during which Devan Dubnyk has slumped wildly, the Minnesota Wild have still managed to maintain a degree of goal-scoring form. The veteran presence of Eric Staal and Zach Parise has been leading the team on, whilst Mikael Granlund is still far better than most people outside of Minnesota realise.

If the Minnesota Wild are to win, they need to catch the Maple Leafs early; the team has often struggled when placed in an adverse situation like being two-down in the first period.

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With any luck William Nylander will be in St. Paul and will slot straight back into the Leafs line-up; that will give the Minnesota Wild a weak point to target.

Nobody can be expected to sit out for three-plus months, including a training camp and step right back in at the elite level.

His return, should he return tonight, could also upset the chemistry between Kasperi Kapanen and forward Auston Matthews, likewise the power-play.

Editor’s Note: It’d seem unlikely that William Nylander will be re-joining the Toronto Maple Leafs line-up tonight; no roster movement has yet been announced.

Following on with that thought, the Minnesota Wild need to stay out of the box. The Maple Leafs’ power play has proven to be almost next-level; freezing defensemen across the league, including the likes of Norris Trophy winning, Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson.

The Wild aren’t exactly known for avoiding silly penalties this year, but they’d be wise to be incredibly careful when their opposition can roll out a group that contains three of the league’s top 20 point scorers (and another that’d likely be up there if it weren’t for injury).

Hopefully all of the noise around the game proves beneficial to Minnesota; they’ll head into a home game with nobody talking about their recent losses, all the talk will likely be around William Nylander.

Next. Time to split Dumba and Brodin. dark

It’s the perfect game to turn things around in that sense.