Dreger: ‘There’s no shortage of interest in William Nylander’

With each day that passes without a contract between William Nylander and the Leafs, at least the possibility of a trade may be looming larger.

How Auston Matthews’ shoulder injury timeline of a minimum of four weeks will impact the situation if at all, remains to be seen.

Darren Dreger had a First Up radio hit Monday morning on Toronto’s TSN 1050, and passed along that there it sounds like “there’s still a pretty wide gap there, both in the term and the money,” on the Nylander front.

With the gap between the two sides perhaps not having been bridged much, if at all, since the Switzerland meeting between Kyle Dubas and Nylander, Dreger was asked if perhaps that meant we’re starting to get into the territory where there could be a trade of the young forward.

“I think the Leafs at least have to consider it very soon, don’t they,” offered Dreger. “And we’ve talked about that in the past. Everything is based on a timeline. And you go to December 1 and you back it up from there, the point where William Nylander is no longer eligible to play in the NHL. That’s not an option that he should be willing to consider, nor should the Leafs be thinking about that either. But you do have to back it up from there.

“So if you’re not making meaningful progress - and to your point, the face-to-face didn’t develop into anything progressive, other than maybe ongoing dialogue - I think you have to at least consider what your other trade options are. I believe that would be the case late October - where we’re at now - or into the first week of November. Not that they would trade him by that point, but that they’d seriously have to start listening to some of the interest.

“There’s no shortage of interest in William Nylander. If I was going to handicap this, I’d put the Carolina Hurricanes right near the top of the page of teams that are interested in Nylander.”

Show host Carlo Colaiacovo mentioned Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce as someone he’d like the Leafs to target in such a trade.

“I think it’d be a steal for the Maple Leafs,” said Colaiacovo.

“Yeah, and look - they’ve been loathe to consider him in the past because of what you just said,” indicated Dreger. “What is the long upside in Pesce, and it could be really good.

“But if you’re Toronto, and if you’re willing to have that trade conversation - for me, I think that’s where you have to start.”

Pesce is in the first season of a six-year extension that carries a cap hit of $4.025 million.

Pierre LeBrun has reported several times in recent weeks that the Hurricanes have been checking in with Dubas on the Nylander front, although Dubas has been indicated his unwillingness to trade Nylander.

LeBrun has also said that he thinks the Leafs would have interest in Pesce if the the situation ever went down that potential trade route.

Elliotte Friedman recently noted the “excess of right-hand shooting defensemen” with the Hurricanes.

Nylander is a restricted free agent without a contract.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly