The ongoing contract dispute between the Toronto Maple Leafs and young forward William Nylander has gone from simply being a major concern for fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs to being a point of interest for fans across the league as more and more reports begin to suggest that teams are now reaching out to the Leafs in an attempt to see if there's any possibility of acquiring the talented forward through a trade.
Now to be clear the Toronto Maple Leafs, and more specifically general manager Kyle Dubas, have been steadfast in their statements regarding the possibility of a Nylander trade. At every opportunity Dubas has stated again and again that the plan has always been to keep his core 3 forwards, the aforementioned Nylander, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, but as the sand continues to flow through the hourglass more and more doubts have begun to creep up regarding the likelihood of that outcome.
Earlier this week it was TSN NHL insider Pierre LeBrun who first revealed that the Maple Leafs had in fact fielded some phone calls from around the league. That being said though LeBrun also added that Dubas had informed each of those callers that the Maple Leafs intended to stick to their guns... at least for now.
“That’s begun to happen, as you might suspect,” said LeBrun as per Chris Nichols. “Hey, why not if you’re another team watching this drag out. I’m told a couple of teams have phoned over the past seven days, and I’m told they got a uniform answer from Kyle Dubas, which is, ‘No thanks, we’re not trading him. We’re going to sign this guy.’
At the time LeBrun also commented on the rumors of a potential offer sheet for Nylander, one that could see the 22 year old earn a contract of gigantic proportions where he to sign such a offer.
“In the meantime, you’ve heard whispers from around the league - I think it’s people gossiping more than anything else - about the value of an offer sheet. Would a team be willing to do that to the Leafs and try and get Nylander on a one-year deal at say $8.1 million. The idea being that would be a difficult qualifying offer for the Leafs to absorb next year.”
What's interesting is that LeBrun believes the Leafs would match such an offer, even when you consider the possible implications it could have on the future of the Maple Leafs, specifically as it pertains to the aforementioned Matthews and Marner. Even more interesting however is the fact that LeBrun has now revealed the name of one of the team's who contacted Toronto about a potential trade.
According to LeBrun one of the teams that reached out to the Leafs this week was none other than the Carolina Hurricanes, and when you consider the trade rumors around that organization it's not hard to connect the dots to see how a trade could potentially work out. All the talk around Carolina as of late has involved veteran defenseman Justin Faulk and their desire to ship him out of town as the Hurricanes look to make a drastic culture change within their organization.
Now I personally do not believe that Faulk, even though he is exactly the kind of right-handed defenseman the Leafs have been looking for, would be enough to get a deal for Nylander done. The Hurricanes would almost certainly have to sweeten the deal to get Kyle Dubas to even consider the offer but given the big trades the Hurricanes have made over the course of the past year I wouldn't put it past them.