We’re now officially one month away from the NHL’s deadline to sign restricted free agents, meaning that the hot stove underneath Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas just got a little hotter. With now daily reports on the negotiations between Dubas and unsigned RFA William Nylander, it appears that things are reaching a head.
In his latest 31 Thoughts column for Sportsnet, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reports that there’s no progress between the two sides and hints at a possible trade. Check it out:
Weekly William Nylander update: it’s a deadlock. Neither side is moving. I don’t think Toronto is ready to trade him yet, but they know it’s time to start considering what could be out there.
Interestingly enough, one of the teams linked to the Leafs in a potential Nylander trade, the Carolina Hurricanes, happen to have three pro scouts at tonight’s Leafs game against the Dallas Stars. This report according to Terry Koshan of The Toronto Sun.
Check it out:
Three Carolina scouts on the accreditation list tonight for Leafs/Stars. Rare for a regular-season game. Of course, the Leafs don't always have an unsigned talented youngster sitting at home.
There’s enough smoke surrounding the Leafs and Hurricanes lately that you have to believe that there’s some fire there. Whether or not the discussions between Dubas and Hurricanes GM Don Waddell are centred around Nylander though is anyone’ s guess.
The speculation from NHL insiders like Chris Johnston and Nick Kypreos is that the Leafs are very interested in Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce. The 23 year old blue liner isn’t a point producer by any means, but he’s a solid two way defender with real top line shut down ability. He’s also a right handed shooter and could provide the Leafs with a major upgrade over Ron Hainsey on Morgan Rielly’s pairing.
So… will we finally see a deal? Time will tell, but so long as we keep seeing Hurricanes scouts at Leafs game, don’t expect the rumor mill to slow down anytime soon.