The ongoing trade rumors surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs, especially since the contract dispute with free agent forward William Nylander has yet to be resolved, have been giving fans across the National Hockey League a serious headache. On Friday night, Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas made one move that will have fans' brain blow up.
According to the editor in chief of The Fourth Period David Pagnotta, Dubas is currently in Carolina for tonight's contest as the Hurricanes host the San Jose Sharks.
For several weeks now, the Hurricanes have been said to be greatly interested in landing the services of Nylander. As it is well-known across the league, Carolina has an incredible defensive depth and could easily tempt the Maple Leafs into a major trade to land the services of the free agent forward.
"I can tell you that I know the Carolina Hurricanes are among the teams that have phoned of late to check in on William Nylander with the Leafs. Just in case. As they should, by the way. ‘Are you trading him?," has said NHL insider Pierre LeBrun on Leafs Lunch on Toronto’s TSN 1050 at the end of September.
The Canes were reportedly told by the Leafs they weren't looking to move him. It seems like management will keep working at making a contract extension stick and be profitable for both camps. However, since that call, the contract dispute has yet to be resolved. As for past negotiations revealed, both sides remain apart of the numbers on a long-term deal, as Nylander is believed to be seeking around $8 million per season versus just more than $6 million offered by the Leafs. Many believe a compromise would be a bridge deal in the $4 million-to-$5 million range that both sides had initially rejected. The Maple Leafs might be looking at a short-term deal in the two to four years, with Nylander looking for six to eight years. Just a few days ago, Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos revealed that the Leafs might have offered a contract of six years to the free agent.
Last week, Dubas traveled to Switzerland to meet with Nylander as trade rumors continued to be heard along with the uncertainty of the future of the young forward in Toronto. His recent travels have brought him to different locations, that once again got people talking. Dubas was in New Jersey, to see some hockey action, but also to meet with Nylander's agent Lewis Gross. He was then seen in Philadelphia, where he saw the Flyers in action. Dubas is well-known to enjoy watching NHL games, and tonight could also be the occasion to see the Canes and Sharks compete.
However, what if Dubas is in Raleigh to listen to a proper offer for Nylander. Could he then offer the free agent a suitable contract that would have the 22-year-old put his name on the dotted line, only to ship him to Carolina after that?
The Hurricanes surely have the cap space to take on Nylander's expected hefty contract... so why not. Maybe that's why Dubas is thinking now. At least Sportsnet's John Shannon had some fun with the Leafs GM when he saw he was in Carolina.