TORONTO – Resigning Nylander was the Wrong Move
The William Nylander Saga in Toronto has officially found it’s end result as the Maple Leafs have officially re-signed Nylander to a 6-year deal worth an annual average of $6.9 million. And while many may be happy in Toronto that they get to get Nylander back on the ice for their already dominant team, this is a move that just hurt your future with two certain players on the cusp of demanding money who are both better than Nylander… Mitch Marner and the face of the franchise, Auston Matthews.
As the first big time NHL holdout finds its end with an ultimate contract, this certainly was a bad move by the Leafs. Yes, I understand there is a real possibility that they win the Cup this year, but Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews are two guys you do not want to lose. The addition in the offseason of John Tavares and now this re-signing almost guarantees that one of their two stars will move on because they will not get the money that rightfully deserve. I was a big fan of the idea of a Nylander trade for the Leafs, because they would get a huge haul back and have the money to resign Matthews and Marner next season, but instead they kept the price incredibly high in hopes that they could re-sign him. So now, who do they keep and who eventually takes off? Let us compare these three players so you see what I am talking about.
In back to back seasons, Nylander has scored 61 points with his career high in goals being 22 and his career high in assists being 41. While 61 is a great number at his young age of just 22, I feel his continuous struggles in the playoffs last season and at times during the season would have made them realize he may not be worth the contract they had given him.
Marner has been a stud since he debuted in the show in 2016. In his first season where he totaled 77 games, he totaled 61 points. Yes, in his first season, he matched Nylander’s career best. Last season, he improved on those marks with a 69 point season and a dominant showing in the playoffs against the Bruins, where in seven games he totaled 9 points. And now this season, he is off to a scorching start, as he has played 26 games, totaling 36 points and is a plus 10 on the season so far. His point total ranks him third in the entire NHL. Clearly Marner, just 21 years old, is on his way to big things in the NHL, as this season may be his coming out party.
The former first overall pick took the league by storm in his first season, totaling 40 goals and 69 points in his first season. Matthews is clearly the best out of the three, yet his continuous health problems may be the only thing holding him back from being the guy chosen by the Leafs (it won’t, but it could). Last season, he missed 20 games, yet finished with 63 points in 62 games in just his second season. And finally, this season he has only played 12 games but is off to ridiculous start with 12 goals and 19 total points so far. It is clear that as long as Matthews stays healthy, he is the best player on the ice most nights. He is the franchise, and he is the guy that Toronto will more than likely have to keep even after signing Tavares.
I feel as though the decision should have been simple to keep Matthews and Marner while accepting parting away with Nylander, but now because of this contract they may need to make a decision next season if neither wants to take a discount to stay in Toronto. However, Toronto is off to their best starts in years and may be the most fun team in hockey, so for the 2018-2019 season, let us just enjoy this dynamic, young team.
– Scott Edwards, Creator of WTF Sports