Maple Leafs Shock The NHL By Dealing William Nylander For Star Defenseman In Massive Trade Proposal That Would Shake Up The 2024 Stanley Cup Race

Total Pro Sports
Toronto Maple Leafs' star William Nylander skating during game.
TORONTO, CANADA – OCTOBER 11: William Nylander #88 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Montreal Canadiens during the third period in an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on October 11, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Canadiens 6-5 in a shootout. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Toronto Maple Leafs’ star forward William Nylander has been one of the top names mentioned in trade rumors since the summer, and for good reason.

Nylander is in the final year of his contract. If the Maple Leafs don’t think they’ll be able to extend Nylander ahead of 2024 free agency, GM Brad Treliving may be enticed to deal Nylander for another impact player ahead of the trade deadline.

One team that makes perfect sense as a landing spot? Toronto’s western Canadian rival in the Calgary Flames, who are loaded with quality defensemen but short on game-changing forwards.

Calgary’s top blueliner, Noah Hanifin, is also in his contract year and could hit free agency next summer. There’s no indicator that the two sides are close on an extension, making the Leafs a perfect trade partner for Calgary.

As great as Nylander is, Toronto has more than enough offense up front with John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Calle Järnkrok, Max Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi. What they need is a top-pairing shutdown defenseman, and Hanifin fits that bill.

Toronto should offer Calgary Nylander for Hanifin in a one-for-one swap. Both teams would address their biggest needs, and they’d be getting grade-A returns for players that may walk in 2024 free agency anyway.

Nylander would bolster the Flames’ scoring punch and help them make a run at the playoffs. And Hanifin would give Toronto that much-needed All-Star caliber defenseman to complement Morgan Rielly.

This would be a win-win for both teams, especially if Toronto and Calgary managed to reach agreements on extensions with Hanifin and Nylander, respectively.

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