After yet another disappointing postseason showing and with a new general manager running the show, there is at least the possibility that the Toronto Maple Leafs could try something major to shake up their roster.
That something could be a trade involving one of their core-four forwards.
If new general manager Brad Treliving decided to go in that direction, William Nylander seems to be the most logical option.
Auston Matthews is the best player on the team, the biggest star and the face of the franchise.
John Tavares has a no-move clause that he is unlikely to waive and also has a contract that few teams could afford or want.
It would be really difficult to win a Mitch Marner trade and get back enough value to make it worth it given his production and contract.
That leaves Nylander.
Nylander is fascinating because on his current contract ($6 million per year salary-cap hit) he might actually represent the best value of any of them. He is a 40-goal, 80-point winger and signed for a below-market deal. For now. The trouble is that he is due for a new contract after this season and will not be anywhere near as cheap on a new deal.
As good as he is, that short-term value could make him an attractive trade chip if the Maple Leafs decided to shake things up.
Treliving also has a track record of not being afraid to make bold, blockbuster moves with his roster (see the Matthew Tkachuk trade last year).
So let us work with that logic and try to figure out a couple of teams that should (or could) have an interest in Nylander.
The Avalanche have a great roster at the top, but some free agent departures and the injury to Gabriel Landeskog have robbed them of a lot of the depth that made them a Stanley Cup champion during the 2021-22 season.
They need to replenish that.
They took a small step toward during that on Saturday by acquiring Ryan Johansen (at half of his salary-cap hit) in a deal with the Nashville Predators to hopefully address the second-line center absence left behind by Nazem Kadri's departure.
But they still need to do something about the wings where Andre Burakovsky and Gabriel Landeskog have not been replaced.
Nylander would be a whopper of a blockbuster, and they should have the salary cap flexibility to make it work, especially after Landeskog goes on LTIR.
The question would be what does a trade look like.
In terms of a one-for-one swap, Devon Toews would be an interesting starting point where Colorado deals from a position of extreme strength (defense) to hopefully fill a position of weakness. It would be a shakeup for Toronto and still bring them back a top-tier player while the money mostly works for everyboody.
The problem is that Toronto does not really need defense, contrary to the popular narrative surrounding the Maple Leafs. They need more scoring and that would only be magnified if a Nylander trade were to happen.
It would make a ton of sense for Colorado, but would take some creativity to find a package that works for what Toronto needs.