Does Having Nylander On The 4th Line Hurt Both Nylander & Matthews?

Published December 10, 2017 at 11:45

Heading into Sunday's game against the Edmonton Oilers, the Toronto Maple Leafs have won two games in a row and are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. The team still sits comfortably in second place in the Atlantic Division, however there's still something bothering Leafs' fans. William Nylander still sits on the Leafs's fourth line playing with Dominic Moore and Matt Martin, and on Saturday logged a career low 8:39 of ice time and had only one shift during the third period. Taking Nylander off Auston Matthews' wing has seemed to hurt both players. Nylander hasn't recorded a point in his last three games, but the 21 year old still has 20 points in 30 games. Since having Connor Brown on his side instead of Nylander, Matthews has struggled as well. The Leafs' franchise forward has just one goal in his last nine games and was held without a shot on goal on Saturday. That's the second time in five games he's been without a shot, and those two games are the only time it's happened in his whole career. As Sean O'Leary points out, having Brown on Matthews wing instead of Nylander gives teams the opportunity to focus all their attention on Matthews basically shutting him down for the night. Combine that with Nylander having limited playing time, two of the Leafs best offensive forwards off the scoreboard. Is it time to put Nylander back on the first line?

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