NHL Rumors: Nylander, Duchene, Gardiner, More

In today’s rumor rundown, there is more news about William Nylander, but this time that Toronto is willing to take an interesting approach. There is also word of a team not in on the trade talks regarding the forward. Matt Duchene and the Ottawa Senators continue to talk and the Maple Leafs might already see a player in the system ready to replace one of their talented offensive defensemen.

Could Nylander Sit Out This Season?

Chris Johnston said during the Sportsnet Headlines segment that the Toronto Maple Leafs would be okay with the idea William Nylander sitting out the year if they don’t come to an agreement or trade him. That’s an interesting position for the Maple Leafs to take considering they’re among the teams favored to compete for the cup and simply letting Nylander sit seems like an odd choice.

William Nylander Maple Leafs
William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs, Dec. 12, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Johnston added that if a trade doesn’t present itself and if Nylander’s demands don’t drop, the Maple Leafs will let him sit. Kypreos said that there are multiple teams willing to pay Nylander $7 million and maybe a bit more. Nylander knows there are teams willing to come closer to his asking price than Toronto is.

With only 13 days until the December 1, trade deadline on Nylander, this is only bound to get louder and louder in terms of speculation. Who will budge first? Nylander knows someone will pay him more than Toronto will and the Maple Leafs say they’re willing to lose the season without one of their better forwards.

Related: NHL Rumors: Hurricanes, Oilers, Penguins, More

Speaking of Nylander…

There are rumored to be many teams interested in finding out what it would take to land Nylander but one of those teams might not be the Edmonton Oilers. The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson writes that it’s unlikely the Oilers are part of the conversation because a starting point in trade would be Adam Larsson.

Adam Larsson - Edmonton Oilers
Adam Larsson (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

The market for Larsson might not be massive but the optics of moving him after you gave up Taylor Hall to acquire him isn’t great. Matheson does believe however, the Oilers might be looking at a forward like Mats Zuccarello with the New York Rangers. He will be an unrestricted free agent next year but could be a good fit in Edmonton.

One team who might be interested in Nylander is the New York Rangers. Larry Brooks of the New York Post suggested they weren’t favorites but shouldn’t be ruled out just yet. Young defenseman Brady Skjei would be part of the return.

Related: NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Penguins, Rantanen, More

Duchene Likely to Stay in Ottawa?

There is some speculation about what’s going on between the Ottawa Senators and stars Matt Duchene and Mark Stone. Nick Kypreos said he’s heard no significant talks have happened when it comes to the Mark Stone camp, but Johnston reported that Duchene’s people have now met face-to-face twice with the Senators. This should be taken as a sign that there may be a deal in the works.

Something to note is whether or not either player wants a significant signing bonus on their next contract and if the Senators can afford to hand one, maybe two of those out.

Related: NHL Rumors: Flames, Maple Leafs, Kings, More

Maple Leafs Willing to Replace Jake Gardiner?

The Athletic’s Jonas Siegel wrote an article asking if Toronto defenseman Jake Gardiner was being viewed as expendable. Gardiner will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and will be expensive to keep around. With so many contract issues on their plate, would Toronto be willing to move him despite building up an extensive resume?

Jake Gardiner - Maple Leafs
Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner has improved his game considerably since the 2015/16 season (Photo by Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Gardiner is the 10th-highest scoring defenseman in Maple Leafs’ history and would definitely fetch a quality return in trade before the deadline. What makes this even more intriguing is the improved play of Travis Dermott. Siegel writes:

Gardiner obviously isn’t the most intriguing Leaf with a lingering contract question (or even the second or third), but his case will be fascinating nonetheless. How Kyle Dubas and company decide to proceed with the 28-year-old, the 10th-highest-scoring defenceman in Leafs history, could have at least something to do with the growth of 21-year-old Travis Dermott this season.

source – ‘Will Travis Dermott’s rise affect the Leafs’ decision on Jake Gardiner?’ – The Athletic – Jason Siegel – 11-17/2018

Dermott would certainly be a more cost-effective option for the Maple Leafs and his numbers are strong with a possession percentage of about 58%. Does his play make Gardiner an asset the Leafs can afford to lose? The risk here is just how inexperienced Dermott is with only 54 games on his NHL resume.

Much of this may depend on what Gardiner wants when it comes to his next contract. If he’s asking for what he might be due based on comparables, the Maple Leafs are going to hard-pressed to afford his next contract.