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William Nylander on yet another first round exit: “Every year it’s just as frustrating to lose”

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Photo credit:James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
1 month ago
William Nylander, much like a vast majority of the Leafs, is running out of words to describe how frustrating it is to keep falling short in the first round.
It was not due to a lack of effort on his part as he was the leading scorer on the team in the postseason despite missing the first three games with migraines.
“It’s very frustrating,” he said “I think that we had a group that showed a lot [of] battle and compete and determination. Every year it’s just as frustrating to lose, so it’s hard to say anything else to that.”
But unlike in years past, Nylander also backed up his teammates and reiterated his belief that the team was never truly out of the series. Given how resilient the team was from Game 5 onward and without the services of Auston Matthews, it is understandable why he is extra pissed that all of that was for naught.
“(We lost) Game 7 in OT. I was out for games. Matty was out for games,” he said. “We battled to get back in the series and I think that’s huge to have in a group, regardless of who is playing. I’m not happy with the result […] but I think what we have in here is great.”
One thing that has been a fairly common occurrence for him at the end of each NHL season is making his way across the pond to represent his country at the World Hockey Championships. And when he has done so, he typically performs well for Sweden, including his last appearance when he posted five points in three games played.
However, when asked if he would be doing it again this year, Nylander said he didn’t think it would be happening this time around. Given he is not far removed from the bout of migraines, it makes sense why he would opt to use these next few months to rest up and get things cleared up in time for next season.
Each mounting playoff loss paves the way for fans to search for answers as to who is responsible for this latest shortcoming. While that is not an easy one to point out given their special team struggles, the spotty play of Ilya Samsonov, and the lack of offence, the city has seemingly set their sights on Mitch Marner as one the main culprits.
Despite all the noise surrounding his long-time teammate, Nylander stood up for Marner and said the team is grateful to have him around.
“He’s an incredible human being, friend. Love the guy,” he said. “Look, there’s always someone taking heat here regardless of how it’s going. But we love him.”
While it is nice to see the players sticking up for each other, the status quo probably isn’t going to cut it anymore. Nylander is very safe given he is about to start his eight-year extension next campaign, but the team surrounding him is likely going to look a lot different in a few months.

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