Renaud Lavoie appeared on Jeff Blair’s show on SN590 today and the question as to whether William Nylander enjoys country music was posed. This, of course, means that they were speculating the possibility of a trade that would send Nylander to the Music City for one of the Predators’ many defencemen.
I know, I know. Dead horse. Blah blah blah, we aren’t trading Nylander for a defenceman! I know this because I browse Twitter a lot and I know for a fact the Leafs would never do such a thing! This isn’t Peter Chiarelli! Come on!
But Lavoie, beyond yelling waivers at us every day in all caps, is a valid insider with a lot of connections around the league. I’m not ready to believe the Leafs and Preds are on the phone as we speak working out a deal, but I do believe Lavoie when he reports that the Leafs could be ready to explore the option of dealing the young winger.
To paraphrase, Lavoie ultimately comes to the conclusion himself that the Leafs and Predators are sensible trade partners. He said that he’s spoken to multiple scouts and general managers around the league who believe that the Leafs are eventually going to shift gears on Nylander and look to make a trade because his salary demands are too high. After that, he said that other scouts after the draft were shocked that the Predators didn’t make a deal involving one of their defencemen to address their depth up front. Add that together and, well, you have yourself a sensible pair of trade partners.
Nashville and Toronto are nice trade partners. The Preds boast an absolutely ridiculous blueline with arguably four different No. 1 defenders making up their top-four. There’s P.K. Subban, who they acquired in a one-for-one swap with Montreal, and three home-grown defenders in Mattias Ekholm, offensive dynamo Ryan Ellis, and captain Roman Josi. After those four, Nashville also has top prospect Dante Fabbro in the system who isn’t far from being ready to make an impact at the NHL level.
I would immediately scratch Subban off the trade list because it wouldn’t work for cap purposes. It would be hilarious to see him end up in Toronto because of how much it would piss off Habs fans, but the Leafs simply can’t take on Subban’s $9 million cap hit.
I also have a tough time believing Josi would be the guy given the fact he was recently named the captain of the team, though they did trade Shea Weber in the aforementioned Subban deal, so anything is possible. Ellis was just inked to a very team-friendly deal worth $6,250,000 over eight seasons that begins in 2019-20. Would Nashville really deal Ellis just a few months after signing him to that contract?
Would that make Ekholm the guy? He’s signed for three more years at $3,750,000 and he’s probably the best all-around defender of the bunch. As much as everybody loves Nylander, could you really turn down getting three extremely cheap years of a defenceman as good as Ekholm?