Leafs target specific players in perfect trade package as Nylander trade becomes more and more likely

Is this the right way to go?

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While there is tons of pressure in Toronto to get free agent William Nylander signed before before 5 p.m. ET on Dec. 1 in order to be eligible for him to play during the 2018-19 season, there is no guarantee that a resolution with the Maple Leafs is around the corner… 

The Leafs could decide to let the deadline pass and have their player sit out the rest of the year, or a trade could be finally put together to send the young forward elsewhere and get quite an interesting return. 

According to Luke Fox of Sportsnet, Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has scouted the Carolina Hurricanes in person and knows what players he wants to get for the perfect trade package if he should decide to pull the trigger. As it has been repeated on more than one occasion, the Canes have great depth on the blue line, which could allow Toronto to finally upgrade in that area. However, while there are a lot of talented blue liner in Raleigh, Dubas knows which one he would prefer to get in return for Nylander, which might not make Canes GM Don Waddell happy. 

Dubas’ eyes are on young Jaccob Slavin.

“He’d be Dubas’s first inquiry but Waddell’s last resort.”

He leads his team ice time (23:17), and his deal doesn’t provide him with trade protection until 2021-22… However, Waddell will likely fight to keep him put in Carolina. 

Many trade rumors have linked Brett Pesce to the Leafs, but it is believed Dubas would want some supplementary pieces (draft pick and/or a bottom-six forward) to get a fair return. Pesce comes at an affordable price for Toronto, and the team could get some depth on other areas as well. 

Dubas could also zone in on veteran Justin Faulk if we keep talking about the defense, but what about replacing a right wing with a right wing? Andrei Svechnikov can’t be on the table, but Valentin Zykov might be and Dubas could convince Waddell to put him as a part of a package. 

The Hurricanes are not believed to be putting their 2019’s first round pick on the table for Nylander, however, they hold an extra 2019 second-rounder (Buffalo’s), an extra 2019 sixth-rounder (Calgary’s), and an extra 2020 third-rounder (Buffalo’s). Dubas will surely inquire about those… He could even try to land his former player goalie Curtis McElhinney, who ended up in Raleigh after he was claimed off waivers, where he landed because of the Maple Leafs. The Marlies’ depth in goal needs a boost and Dubas might like to have him back in the fold. 

What will be the perfect trade package for Nylander and when the trade will take place… if it does.