Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Nylander, Dermott or Holl Trade?

Merry Christmas to all readers of The Hockey Writers. In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs News & Rumors, I’ll share some news about the NHL that impacts the Maple Leafs. In addition, I’ll add information about the team specifically.

Item One: Monday’s Game Against the Blue Jackets Is Postponed

In league news, the NHL decided to wait another day before returning to the ice after the Christmas pause. This morning, the NHL announced plans to extend the delay to at least Tuesday. Games were supposed to start again on Monday. As the league noted, adding one more day would give them “an adequate opportunity to analyze League-wide testing results and to assess Clubs’ readiness to play, the target date for resumption of game play will be pushed back an additional day.”

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That means the Maple Leafs would not play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. It might also mean, because it includes cross-border travel, that the Maple Leafs’ game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday could also be iffy. 

Item Two: William Nylander Has Been Added to the COVID-19 Protocol

One more Maple Leafs’ player has been added to the COVID-19 protocol – William Nylander. His addition raises the team’s number now to 13 players, coaches, and support staff who’ve tested positive for the virus.

William Nylander Toronto Maple Leafs
William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

It’s been a good season for Nylander thus far. He’s a point-a-game player, with 13 goals and 18 assists (for 31 points) in  30 games on the season. He has been even more on fire recently by scoring 15 points during his last 10 games.

Item Three: Might A Defenseman Be Moving to the Avalanche?

Two days ago Pro Hockey Rumors suggested the idea that two teams in need might hook up for a trade. One of those teams was the Colorado Avalanche, who are really hurting on defense. The other might be the Maple Leafs, who seem to have an extra defenseman. 

Related: Revisiting the Brent Burns Trade

The Avalanche have lost both Bowen Byram and Ryan Murray for indefinite periods of time, which leaves them down to a bit of a make-shift defense after three strong defensemen – Cale Makar, Devon Toews, and Samuel Girard. The rumor suggested that the Maple Leafs might be a logical trade partner and might be looking to move either Justin Holl or Travis Dermott.


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Holl’s difficulties this season are well known. He’s even been a healthy scratch for a few games. However, he was also playing shutdown defense just a year ago with Jake Muzzin and the Avalanche might look to that past to suggest that he could revive that level of play. Would he benefit from changing teams? He’s also probably within a financial range the Avalanche might handle.

Justin Holl Toronto Maple Leafs
Justin Holl, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

However, probably the more attractive target would be Travis Dermott. He’s younger than Holl by four years and is making $500,000 less per season, which is even more attractive to the Avalanche. While Dermott doesn’t put up great score-sheet numbers, he doesn’t seem to make the kind of defensive mistakes Holl makes.

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That’s the rumor. Might it have any legs?

What’s Next for the Maple Leafs?

The Maple Leafs have been hit hard with COVID-19, and who knows when the team will have a healthy enough roster to play games. Now with so many players on the list, it looks as if the Maple Leafs will have a tough time putting together anything that resembles a winning roster. 

It’s also impossible to see what players on the Toronto Marlies might be called up. The Marlies have 10 players on the COVID-19 list as well and haven’t released their names (at least I haven’t been able to find them). This likely means that both teams will likely be missing key roster pieces coming out of the break. That would be true even if the games are postponed for a while. 

Related: 7 Cool Things About Carey Price

One upside is that this season’s team has strong roster depth, which was starting to produce good results. The Maple Leafs don’t need more games where most of their regular roster is missing. Welcome to the NHL’s new reality.


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