William Nylander’s New Year’s resolution may have been the same as his Christmas wish: to finally bag his first goal of the season.
The left winger has played 11 games without a goal since his contract impasse with the Maple Leafs came to an end, and the slump has taken on a life of its own.
Teammate Nazem Kadri knows what that’s like, struggling to score in a hockey hotbed where you’re constantly reminded of it. Kadri — who went 12 games without a point in one stretch last season — said at Monday’s practice that he learned a lot from dealing with that pressure while getting his offence back on track.
Nylander’s burden is compounded by the fact that he just signed a six-year contract worth close to $42 million U.S., raising expectations. He hasn’t looked at all like the 61-point producer he’d been the last two seasons — save for a few flashes — although his defensive game has improved.
“I want to get better. I’m not happy (about the slump) at all,” Nylander said. “I’m working to get better every game and I feel like it’s coming.”