What exactly could a trade look like then?
To begin, it should be noted that Toronto’s current General Manager, Kyle Dubas, is yet to make a major trade at the NHL level, so what he typically seeks as compensation is all the more difficult to judge.
Therefore, the simplest way to perhaps gauge what type of deal may entice Dubas, taking a look at his time as Assistant G.M. of the Maple Leafs may be the safest resort.
One specific deal that can be used as a strong reference is the 2015 trade that witnessed Toronto ship out their best offensive player, Phil Kessel, to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In that aforementioned deal, the Maple Leafs received a package that included a top prospect, a mid-level defenseman, and a duo of high-round draft selections; so it is fair to assume the asking price for Nylander would at least be the same.
Keeping this in mind, let us look at three possible trades that could serve as the foundation for a deal involving Nylander and the Nashville Predators.
Toronto Maple Leafs Trade: William Nylander, 2019-Sixth Round Pick
The first deal presented is one that unquestionably makes the Predators better immediately, while giving the Maple Leafs more assets to look forward to in the future.
To begin, in the package presented, the Predators would receive the best player in the deal right now, while Toronto would get Nashville’s first draft choice in the 2020 season. Building off this, it is suggested that this pick would come from 2020 and not this upcoming draft simply because the Predators do not own a third-round choice this year and are unlikely to give up two of there first round 2019 selections.
As compensation for accepting the delayed draft pick, the Maple Leafs would also get Colorado’s fourth-round pick that Nashville currently has ownership of.
Remaining on how the deal improves Toronto’s future, the Leafs would also receive Eeli Tolvanen whom the Predators selected late in the first round in 2017.
So far in his career, Tolvanen is yet to register a point in three NHL games, but, he did average nearly a point per game in the KHL last year and is putting up similar numbers in the AHL through four games this year.
Whether or not Tolvanen will pan out is yet to be determined, however, he is likely Nashville’s top prospect outside the NHL, so he certainly presents value to fellow teams.
Oppositely from Tolvanen, Weber would be able to help the Maple Leafs on the defensive end, an area Toronto is undeniably looking to bolster.
Weber, who is currently on his third NHL team, has maintained a positive +/- rating in three of the last four seasons and would likely be a regular suit up for the remainder of the season for Toronto should he be sent to Canada.
As expected, one of the more plausible options for Nylander is a trade similar to that of former Toronto star, Phil Kessel; which is exactly what this deal represents.