While the Toronto Maple Leafs and their fan base have been the ones losing the most sleep over the William Nylander contract dispute, it now seems like it is affecting the immediate plans of another team in the National Hockey League - and you know what happens after that… The rest of the league is also being involved as the domino effect never stops in the NHL.
During an appearance Monday on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960, Elliotte Friedman revealed that the New York Rangers are being watched as they might pull off a major trade sooner rather than later. This is nothing new: for a few weeks now, the trade rumors have been buzzing in the Big Apple as Vladislav Namestikov, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello could be available on the trade market.
However, Friedman mentioned that the Rangers, despite being quite impatient on what to do next, general manager Jeff Gorton, along with many other GMs in the league, are waiting to see what the Maple Leafs do with Nylander.
“People are also waiting on Toronto to see what Toronto does with Nylander. If you’re in on that, you’re holding your best pieces to see in case they move him. But I think there’s a lot of chatter out there, and I think it’s because some teams are off to slow starts and they want to try and save their year.”
It is well known that the Rangers have been quite interested in pursing Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin via free agency next summer. However, they still don’t know the impact of the Nylander situation in the NHL, and might be waiting to see what to do next. The Russian sniper hasn’t shown any interest in signing a contract extension in Columbus and has mentioned in the past the desire to play in a much larger market, like New York.
“The guy that I’m wondering about is Panarin. Since we’re talking about gambling today, if there was a wager on where Panarin was going to be next year as a UFA, I think a lot of people would probably pick the Rangers. A guy like that accelerates a rebuild. And by then you’re hoping - Andersson’s a year older, Chytil’s a year older, some of your other guys who are a year older, and you can start going somewhere.
“I think until the Rangers see if they land him - assuming they’re interested - then I think that probably changes the franchise’s direction. So I wouldn’t imagine Lundqvist is going anywhere.”
Nylander and the Maple Leafs have until December 1st to hammer out a contract or he’ll be unable to play in the NHL this season. We can assume that until this contract impasse gets resolved, several major trades across the NHL might be placed on hold to see what Toronto does next with the talented forward.
The Maple Leafs might be trying harder to keep Nylander in the fold, now that star player Auston Matthews is sidelined with an injury.
However, there is still an important gap reported between both camps, and who knows, trade chatter might not be over, even with Matthews' injury. No matter what, it seem like the Rangers, and the rest of the NHL, is waiting to see what happens with Nylander before they made the final call on a trade.
Photo Credit: Zuma Press