When it was reported earlier this week that Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson said he was never playing for them again (which his agent vehemently denied), it was the impetus to fire up our collective imaginations about who around the league could be next in line to ask for a trade.
It's impossible for everyone to be happy all at once, and whether a situation is good or bad, sometimes it just isn't working. Other times, contract talks get acrimonious and the only thing that will make everyone feel better is to part ways.
When a trade demand goes public, it's like a celebrity breakup. There's drama, there are often hurt feelings and there's usually no coming back from it. That is unless you're Jake DeBrusk, of course.
So…who else around the NHL is in a precarious position?
Some choices are more obvious than others. We're making these predictions based on current rumblings about dissatisfaction, what a team has going on and whether there's a player on that team who could use a change of address to improve their situation. Let's free our minds and free some players from a tough set of circumstances.
William Nylander – Toronto Maple Leafs
You may have heard about William Nylander reportedly asking for $10 million a season for his next contract. He's due to be an unrestricted free agent next summer and he's setting the bar high for himself. Good for him!
Of course, such talk is met with scoffs and skepticism as to whether he's worth that much or not. Is he a team player? Should Nylander take a hometown discount to keep the group together to try and win a Stanley Cup? Everything is dramatic with the Leafs, but this one is properly worth discussing.
If Leafs management doesn't see things the same way as Nylander, perhaps it's time for Nylander to force the issue and ask for a trade.
It feels like ancient history at this point, but when Nylander came out of his entry-level contract in 2018, he and the team didn't come to an agreement on a deal until the last minute before he would've been ineligible to play for the season. Coincidentally enough, Nylander's prorated cap hit that season was over $10 million.
The Leafs and new GM Brad Treliving are in a precarious spot. Nylander and Auston Matthews are eligible to become unrestricted free agents next July and they've already got captain John Tavares locked in with an $11 million cap hit and Mitch Marner at $10.9 million. It seems logical that Matthews would command a similar hit to Marner and Tavares which means Nylander wants in on it too. They are the "Core Four" after all, right?
If the Leafs don't want to meet Nylander at that point or within a reasonable distance of it, Nylander should ask to go somewhere else where they're more likely to do so.