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Former Leaf not sold on Nylander at center


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Ryan Smitheram
September 21, 2023  (11:39)
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Sheldon Keefe made some very intriguing remarks during his media availability yesterday about certain players and where they might play. Keefe revealed he would like to have Auston Matthews more involved on the penalty kill and also mentioned that William Nylander will begin training camp at center. Moving Nylander to the middle, if successful, would make the Leafs a very deep team up the middle of the ice. Nylander has played center in the NHL in the past, but it has never been for long stretches of time.

Former Leaf and current TSN analyst Frank Corrado discussed the idea of shifting Nylander to the middle and made a bold statement about the move on Sportscenter last night.
"I don't think it lasts long. Willy is built to play the wing. If you're gonna make this move though, now is the time to do it. Why would you do it in the middle of the season?You give him a little more runway here in training camp. He's gonna be working, getting more reps at the right time when the stakes are a little lower and he'll have a little more runway to see if he can do it but ultimately I just don't see him as a center."

Nylander, in Corrado's mind, is built to play the wing, but with the extra time he is getting during training camp to get more comfortable in the middle, without having to be thrown into the fire in the middle of the season, it may be a different story this time around. Nylander driving his own line is certainly within the realm of possibility and with his added maturity now, perhaps the time is right to give it another try.
Nylander is coming off of a career best season where he put up 40 goals and 87 points and is entering the final year of his current contract. We all know that there is a massive gap between his contract ask and what the Leafs are comfortable with, but if Nylander is able to perform well while playing a new position, it could not only help him get closer to his asking price, but it could also make the Leafs more comfortable in giving him the money he thinks he worth.
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21 SEPTEMBRE   |   225 ANSWERS
Former Leaf not sold on Nylander at center

Will Nylander be a permanent solution for the Leafs at center?

Yes6528.9 %
No16071.1 %
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