2023-24 Maple Leafs predictions: William Nylander scores fewer than 40 goals, but breaks 90 points
Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
By Joseph Zita20 days ago
At the time of writing this article, William Nylander has yet to sign an extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs and is one year away from being one of the more sought-after free agents on the market in the 2024 offseason.
The plan for both sides is to get a contract extension done, just like Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs were able to do last week, but this is William Nylander and his agent we’re talking about.
We’ve seen this story before between these two sides just five years ago ahead of the 2018-19 season when he needed a new contract after his ELC came to an end. His side will try and fight for every penny that Nylander deserves, and rightfully so because that’s the agent’s job, but let’s hope that both sides can agree on something and get him locked up for the foreseeable future like Matthews and the Maple Leafs were able to do.
Let’s put the contract talks to the side for now and talk about the 2023-24 season that is right around the corner because, after all, Nylander is still signed with the Maple Leafs for the upcoming season.
William is coming off a career year last season when he scored 40 goals for the first time in his career and tallied 47 assists for 87 points in a full 82-game season. On top of that tremendous regular season, he continued that into the playoffs for Toronto – as he’s done for the last three years – as he scored four goals and six assists for 10 points in the team’s 11 games against Tampa Bay and Florida.
After a career year in 2022-23 and arguably being Toronto’s best and most consistent playoff performer for the past three years while preparing to enter a contract year if he and Toronto don’t agree on an extension before training camp, you would think he has a legit shot to top last year’s performance and have an even better one in 2023-24, no?
Although Nylander scored 40 goals, it was also the second-highest shooting percentage he’s ever put up in a single season with 13.7% (excluding his rookie season when he only played 22 games), and what are the chances he replicates that next season?
Now, it’s not entirely impossible that he can hit 40 goals again and even have a lower shooting percentage, but for the sake of this article, I’ll say he scores lower than 40 goals but still manages to pot 30 + in the net while finally hitting and breaking the 90-point mark in a season.
As I said earlier, he put up 87 points in 82 games last season in just 18:33 of ice time, and in the season prior he had 80 points in 81 games while averaging even less ice time at 18:16.
If Nylander could see another increase in his ice time in 2023-24, there is without a doubt that he can top his point total from last season.
He’s a very skilled forward who plays on the wing with either John Tavares or Auston Matthews, and he also plays on the first power-play unit. He could be in store for a high point total this coming season simply because of two new additions up front that the team made this off-season, Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi. It gives the team two more threats offensively at five-on-five and the power-play.
(All stats from Hockey-Reference.com)
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