William Nylander looking skyward during a game.
Photo credit: TSN

Report: Maple Leafs William Nylander Almost Traded Before Massive Extension

Published January 8, 2024 at 3:02 PM

A new report has surfaced that details how the Leafs were looking to potentially trade William Nylander before offering him his blockbuster contract.

Elliotte Friedman Reveals that William Nylander Was Almost Traded

William Nylander has been almost the only topic of discussion in Toronto this season. Between his incredible production this year, and his contract extension, Nylander has had all of the spotlight.

However, what didn't get much attention was the fact that Nylander was being shopped by the Toronto Maple Leafs for a potential defenseman prior to them re-engaging in contract discussions around Christmastime. This, according to Elliotte Friedman on his 32 thoughts podcast.

"I think this is the key thing. I think over the summer, the Toronto Maple Leafs made it clear they would consider trading William Nylander for a top defenseman and there just wasn't anything out there. Part of the reason is that teams that were going to trade for him didn't know if they were going to be able to sign him. So, nobody is trading a top defenseman or a really good defenseman for a Nylander that you don't know if you're going to be able to sign. Look at how hard this negotiation was going to be for Toronto. It wasn't going to be any easier anywhere else. So that made it difficult for Toronto to make a deal, they had no deal to make.

I think from the beginning of the season until just before Christmas when Toronto re-engaged, and I think a lot of this started again just after their trip to Sweden... I think the Maple Leafs went through the league and said 'if we let him go and we use that money on the blueline, who is the defenseman we could go get and be impactful enough to fix the loss of Nylander and his production?...They said there is not a defenseman they can get their hands on who is worth losing this player."

Leafs GM Brad Treliving Has High Expectations of Nylander Now that Deal is Done

Now that the Leafs and Nylander have officially inked the deal, Brad Treliving has high expectations for the star forward. He doesn't necessarily want Nylander to change his game, but he certainly expects him to evolve and continue to improve.

Treliving says they don't want Nylander to change anything but feels he has room to continue to evolve: «To whom much is given, much is expected.»

Leaf fans can take a breath now that Nylander is officially signed, and can look forward to another 8 years of the star. Hopefully, it will be worth the $92 million it took to keep him here.

As seen on Maple Leafs Daily - "Nylander reportedly almost traded before signing his extention in Toronto
January 8   |   1592 answers
Report: Maple Leafs William Nylander Almost Traded Before Massive Extension

Would you rather have seen the Leafs trade Nylander for a defenseman?

Yes62639.3 %
No96660.7 %
Latest 10 stories