Toronto Maple Leafs star RFA William Nylander remains unsigned. Some fans around the web suggest the Vancouver Canucks explore the opportunity of signing him. Here’s why they should stay away.
The Vancouver Canucks, like any team, would benefit greatly from adding a 22-year-old forward who’s registered consecutive 60-point seasons.
In this case, we’re talking specifically about Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander, who remains unsigned as he continues to hold out over a contract dispute. Nylander has 135 points in 185 career games, and he was an ample piece of the 2016-17 and 2-17-18 Maple Leaf teams that made the playoffs.
The Canucks are seeing their own young stars come into the light. Last year, it was Calder Trophy nominee Brock Boeser. This season, it’s rookie Elias Pettersson, who had five points through his first two NHL games.
Now, imagine if the Canucks were to somehow add a player of Nylander’s caliber. This would speed up the rebuilding process as the 22-year-old joins a young roster loaded with young, up-and-coming talent.
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On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos said Nylander is “certainly holding firm on his demands on a long-term deal,” while his colleague Chris Johnston reported that he wants something similar to Leon Draisaitl‘s $8.5 million a year salary.
Some fans on Reddit are discussing the idea of the Canucks acquiring Nylander. But really, general manager Jim Benning isn’t in a position to make a play for Nylander, nor should he.
The offer sheet is not an option. General managers avoid doing it because they don’t want to burn bridges and create heat with other GMs.
If Benning were to submit an offer sheet to Nylander, it would jeopardize his chances of making trades with other teams down the road.
Not only that, but landing Nylander via offer sheet would cost Vancouver a great deal. Per CapFriendly.com, signing a player worth approximately $6.088 to about $8.118 million a season would cost one first, one second and one third round pick in draft compensation. Not worth the risk, especially with the Canucks having a chance at winning the Jack Hughes sweepstakes.
A trade would simply cost Vancouver way too much, too. Toronto would easily command draft picks — especially at least one first — knowing it has a chance of being in the top-five selection in 2019. Toronto would certainly want some of Vancouver’s top prospects in return — perhaps Quinn Hughes, Olli Juolevi or Jonathan Dahlen.
If the Canucks were a borderline playoff team and only one piece away from possible championship contention, inquiring about a player like Nylander would be worth a look. But they’re in rebuilding mode, and going all-in for Nylander just doesn’t make sense right now.
Chances are, Toronto and Nylander eventually work out a deal anyway. It could take time, but if general manager Kyle Dubas can land John Tavares, he can probably find a way to get Nylander under contract.
So no, the Canucks aren’t in a situation where going for Nylander makes sense. It’s smarter and safer to avoid signing the young and rising superstar for now. The front office has to go with the roster they have right now.