William Nylander has yet to sign a deal with the Maple Leafs but, that does not mean the New York Rangers should swoop in and trade for him.
William Nylander is one of the games bright young stars who is in the midst of a contract dispute with the Toronto Maple Leafs. As the Leafs struggle to sign him, they might be looking to trade him and the New York Rangers must stay away.
The eighth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has appeared in 158 games over the course of three (two full) seasons with Toronto. During that span, he has been one of the more productive players the game has had to offer. He’s scored 135 points, 48 goals, and 87 assists, living up to his hype. The problem now is with John Tavares, Toronto is under a cap squeeze and simply cannot meet the demands of Nylander.
Here is where teams like the Rangers come into play. New York is in the midst of the beginning stages of a rebuild looking for a player of Nylander’s caliber. They already have young players within the organization that could be appealing to Toronto in a potential trade for Nylander. What also bodes in the Rangers favor is the expectation that they will end up with a top-10 draft pick this season.
Putting together a Nylander trade would most definitely cost a team one, maybe even two first round picks. A team bidding for Nylander also would have to be set on sending one of their top prospects in a potential deal. For the Blueshirts, that would mean Lias Andersson, Filip Chytil, Libor Hajek, Brett Howden, and Igor Shestyorkin could be names demanded by Toronto.
This is where the Rangers need to be cautious and hit the pause button on a trade for the 22-year-old.
Now, you might be asking yourself why on earth would Jeff Gorton not jump all over the chance to acquire a young up and coming star like Nylander?
The answer is simple, it goes against everything the Rangers are trying to create right now. The Rangers of old might have been all in on Nylander not caring about the draft picks and young talent they would have to give up to acquire a difference maker. They did it with Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis, Keith Yandle, and Eric Staal.
But, this is not the Rangers of old. This is a team who is prioritizing drafting and developing young talent but, doing it the right way. Should New York acquire Nylander, they might be setting themselves back a couple of years in this entire process rather than jump-starting themselves. Jump-starting a team who is not a year or two away, but at least three or four years away.
Another thing to consider when it comes to acquiring Nylander is he has never had to be the leading man himself in the NHL. He has been along the likes of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, two of the best playmakers the game has to offer. You simply do not know if Nylander is capable of being the go-to super-star a team like the Rangers need.
Should the Rangers work a trade with Toronto that they feel is worth making, they would have until Dec. 1 to sign him or else he cannot take part in the 2018-19 season. Clearly, there is no guarantee Nylander would be willing to sign with a team right away especially going from a winning culture to one which is in the midst of going through a dark age. That risk alone should make anyone in the Blueshirts’ front office hesitant.
Just like the case with Artemi Panarin, the Rangers should not be mortgaging their future in an attempt to win now. This case with Nylander might be a bit different considering Panarin is 26-years-old and Nylander is just 22. But, there is no reason for New York to go out there and break down what they have just started to build.
Nylander is a great talent and has the potential to become a great player in the NHL. It is just not worth it at this time for the Rangers to go all in on him.