Though adding a player the caliber of Nylander is sure to benefit any team in the short-term, a few concerns arise when speaking about the Nashville Predators gaining his services.
First, congruent to the Maple Leafs, the Predators are in a bit of a cap-situation of their own, as several key pieces such as, Pekka Rinne, Craig Smith, Kevin Fiala, and the teams’ captain, Roman Josi, all have contracts that will expire in the next two years.
To address this optimistically, it is possible that Rinne will retire at the end of the season to relieve the burden of re-signing him to a new multi-million dollar deal. Should this occur, Nashville would have just over $15 million in cap space heading into next year, but, with Josi’s raise included in that total, they would likely have about $10million left.
In terms of what he’s after financially, Nylander seems less tied up on the actual dollar figure of the contract and more the nature of the deal he would be agreeing too. Presumably, though, Nylander would cost the Predators about $6-7.5million per year in this scenario.
After signing Nylander, the Predators would be limited on cap room moving forward, but, they would certainly have one of the more potent lineups in the league in the present and near future.
Aside from the contract of Nylander, another potential problem could arise from how the Swede would fit into the Predators lineup.
At this moment for example, Nashville has two high-level offensive centers in Ryan Johansen and Kyle Turris, while Nick Bonino provides the team with a good two-way centerman on the Predators’ third offensive unit.
In other words, the Predators don’t exactly need more scoring depth up the middle.
Instead, Nashville may be more concerned with finding a second line winger to play alongside Turris, as Kevin Fiala has failed to build off his 25-goal campaign in 2017-2018 so far.
To counter this, readers should be reminded that although Nylander was drafted as a center and partook in over 600 faceoffs last season, he has played extensively on the wing alongside Auston Matthews during his time in Toronto. Adding to this, Nylander’s speed and stick skills also allow him to be one of the more underrated defensive forwards in the league, finishing 15th in Takeaways with 68 last year.
To end, Nylander finished the 2016-2017 season amongst the league’s top-15 in powerplay points with 27; making him a much-needed weapon for Nashville’s lowly powerplay.
In summary, William Nylander’s contract may give the Nashville Predators management a slight headache moving forward, however, his ability to play a full 200-foot game and contribute with the man advantage makes him the most attractive forward the Preds’ may be able to land for years to come.