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Insider believes he knows why Nylander is being given a run at center in Toronto


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Mike Armenti
September 26, 2023  (8:47)
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When the Toronto Maple Leafs drafted William Nylander in 2014, he was originally drafted as a center. At the NHL level, however, he hasn't played more than a handful of games in the middle of the ice. Heading into this year's training camp, the Leafs made it clear that they wanted to give Nylander a much longer look at center.

The most has raised a few eyebrows, as Nylander is coming off of the best statistical season of his career on the wing, having scored 40 goals and 87 points in 2022-23.
One NHL Insider believes he has an idea as to why the Leafs may be attempting this now, of all seasons.
On TSN Radio on Monday, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger shared the following information:
"We can't dismiss it out of hand automatically. You say, 'Okay, well, can you see Patrick Kane being a good fit for the Toronto Maple Leafs?' Well, if William Nylander excels at center and becomes a fixture there, you could definitely envision an upgrade on that right side."

I know, I know.. there's Kaner's name again. It may seem like a stretch, but if the Maple Leafs were able to land Kane, it would allow them to ice the following lineup:

Potential Lines

Bertuzzi-Matthews-Marner
Knies-Tavares-Kane
Domi-Nylander-Robertson
Reaves-Kampf-Lafferty
Note the absence of Calle Jarnkrok here. If the Leafs want to take a run at signing Kane to a 1-year, league minimum deal, packed with performance bonuses, Jarnkrok's $2.1M would almost certainly have to go. Having said that, who would you rather have on your team between Jarnkrok and Kane?
If the Leafs were to sign Kane for $775K, offering a $1M bonus for playing something like 50 games, a $1M bonus for scoring 20 goals and a $1M bonus for making the playoffs, that would give him a $3.775M pay day, with the $3M in bonus overages hitting the Leafs' salary cap next season, when the cap is set to rise exponentially. It would also help them save some cap space this season, as Jarnkrok's $2.1M minus Kane's $775K saves the team $1.325M in cap space this season.
We already know that Kane has been in Toronto for quite some time as he continues to work his way back from offseason hip surgery. We know that he plans to be in Toronto for the next month. We also know that Auston Matthews and Patrick Kane have a desire to play with one another. If this truly is the Leafs' plan, it would almost certainly make them Stanley Cup favourites.
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SEPTEMBER 26   |   84 ANSWERS
Insider believes he knows why Nylander is being given a run at center in Toronto

Who will Patrick Kane play for this season?

Buffalo Sabres2327.4 %
Toronto Maple Leafs3541.7 %
New York Rangers1214.3 %
Other1416.7 %
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