I apologize in advance that I am even covering this whole spectacle. Anyone living in/near the GTA is probably exhausted from all the speculation surrounding William Nylander. All that being said, I wanted to present the situation in an objective fashion with certain conditions that can be logically understood. It should be noted that I am not arguing that the Leafs trade Nylander, but merely presenting a thought experiment based on two factors: (1) age and (2) AAV.
Let’s just assume the following parameters:
1. The Maple Leafs are willing to pay $6.5 million AAV for a 22-year old player in Nylander.
2. The Maple Leafs are weak at the RHD position, while having a glut of right-handed forwards.
3. Therefore, any trade involving Nylander would need to return a young RHD with an AAV under $6.5 million.
It would not make logical sense for the Leafs to trade Nylander for another right-handed forward, especially when they would be trading one of the best for not one of the best. There also exists the possibility that they trade Nylander for a left-handed forward, since the Leafs also have some depth concern on the left side. It is also entirely possible that they re-sign Nylander. However, for the following thought experiment: if you do not accept the aforementioned parameters, please go back to Twitter and spam all your followers about how Nylander is greedy or Dubas is a bad GM. If you are still with me, hear me out.
Based on their roster needs and budgetary constraints, a trade for Nylander needs to result in a long-term commitment from a RHD entering their prime in the $6.5 million AAV range. The following players meet the conditions of (1) under 25 years old, (2) right-handed defense and (3) less than $6.5 million AAV:
Of the 15 players that meet the age and contractual requirements, there is a risk with players on ELC and expiring contracts who may not be willing to sign a long-term, team-friendly deal. Unless a contract extension has been negotiated in a handshake deal prior to the trade, a player like McAvoy could demand a bridge deal or greater than $6.5 million for a long-term solution. That is not an improvement over their current situation. Players that are already locked into a contract until 2022 would be a known quantity for four seasons that can be budgeted around. Who qualifies as having at least four years left on their current affordable contract:
- Matt Dumba (MIN): Expires in 2023/$6m AAV
- Rasmus Ristolainen (BUF): 2022/$5.4m
- Seth Jones (CBJ): 2022/$5.4m
- Damon Severson (NJD): 2023/$4.16m
- Brett Pesce (CAR): 2024/$4.025m
I don’t even want to speculate over the value of the players involved or hypothetical trade situations, I’ll leave that up to the commenters. Based on what we know about the situation, the aforementioned five players would satisfy the economic and age conditions for the Maple Leafs.