Is William Nylander going to be the odd man out this summer?

Ben Hodgson
April 12, 2022  (12:55)

If you want to see Leafs fans argue amongst themselves, simply bring up the name William Nylander. The 25-year-old Swedish star has game-breaking skill, but his inconsistent effort level and aversion to physical play have turned a large portion of the fanbase against him. The Leafs, like many teams, are going to have to make some tough decisions this offseason and, by the sounds of it, Nylander may be on his way out of Toronto this summer.

The discourse started earlier this year when Chris Johnston dropped a bomb on his podcast, The CJ Show. Johnston believes one of the Leafs "core four" of Matthews, Marner, Tavares and Nylander would be moved in the offseason. Matthews isn't going anywhere, Marner is playing the best hockey of his life, and Tavares has a full no move clause. Nylander has had his position on Tavares' wing usurped by Ilya Mikheyev by coach Sheldon Keefe, who's clearly grown tired of Nylander's inconsistent efforts.
This isn't to say that Nylander isn't a useful member of the team, or that he doesn't deserve to be here. Nylander is a highly skilled shooter, an excellent passer and his ability to carry the puck into the zone and maintain possession is valuable to the team. He's big, strong, hard to knock off the puck and hard to move in front of the net when he gets there. It's his play away from the puck that fans, and Sheldon Keefe, appear to take issue with.
The Leafs are tight against the cap for next season, they'll want to at least try to re-sign Jack Campbell, Ilya Mikheyev, Mark Giordano, Pierre Engvall, Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren. That's 7 players to sign with only 8.6 million in cap space. Moving Nylander would bring back a haul of assets, and free up space for the Leafs to keep at least some of the players listed, and maybe add another difference maker in free agency.
There has also been some chatter around Jake Muzzin's health - or rather his inability to stay healthy. Will the Leafs try to move out the final two years of his contract to save another $5.625M in cap space that they can use to reallocate elsewhere in the lineup? Is a buyout possible? What about the final year of Alex Kerfoot's deal? All questions that will need answers.
I think, win or lose, we're going to see a lot of movement from the Leafs this summer to try to give themselves a little bit more cap flexibility, and I think the ball that gets it all rolling could be Nylander.
12 AVRIL   |   313 ANSWERS
Is William Nylander going to be the odd man out this summer?

Will the Leafs finally move William Nylander this summer?

Yes12740.6 %
No258 %
If they do, it will be a mistake7724.6 %
Depends on the return8426.8 %
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