William Nylander isn’t on the market because of one outlet’s speculation

Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

It is with deep regret that I inform you that “those —-ers at TSN” are at it again. This morning, William Nylander was, for what seems like the billionth time in months, linked to the trade speculation by the broadcasting giant.

The hit was innocuous on the surface: Matthew Cauz goes on an inspired rant to James Duthie to insure that The Quizmaster doesn’t bring up the idea of trading the 20-year-old forward, because he doesn’t believe the speculation to make any sense. I have a lot of time for Cauz, and typically agree with his hockey takes and believe he had the best of intentions by making this the topic. Duthie even agreed that you’d need to get a superstar young defenceman back, and Michael Landsberg added that the only way he’d consider a move would be if the war room decided that he’s peaked early. The hit itself isn’t bad.

But here’s the thing: this has been TSN’s baby of the past few months, and often with pointed titles.


Here’s just a sample of what comes up in the first couple pages a Google search for trade Nylander, isolated to TSN.ca:

Interestingly enough, doing similar searches for Sportsnet and major publications tend to draw blanks. It appears that the Nylander trade speculation that has been scoffed at by TSN has also been broken down by TSN and initially started on TSN platforms.

It makes you wonder why that’s the case. Do they know something that we don’t? Probably not, seeing as certain writers and insiders within the network are shutting each other down. Is he actually likely to be on the move? Probably not, given that any sort of collaborating links tend to go back to the platform.

The last link on here touches on why these rumours spread; the Leafs Lunch crew suggested back in December that the blame leans towards the readers for taking comments like “well, if the Leafs want to make a move, Nylander might be an option” out of context and people putting too much focus on the headlines. But the headlines are still being created by the platform, and the platform is the same one that repeatedly revisits the same dead horse.

This, of course, is not a “TSN is evil” rant. Their hockey coverage, for the most part, is second to none and I understand the pursuit of page views and listeners and viewers and other forms of engagement that allow them to sustain revenue, and I understand that as long the audience keeps making noise, positive or negative, whenever the topic comes up, that conversation will continue.

But make no mistake; this speculation is isolated to one outlet, who seemingly can’t decide how they feel about each other’s perspectives on it. No matter how often they bring it up, until somebody else does, I wouldn’t be sitting here worrying about William Nylander’s future with the Leafs.

After all, we’re talking about a 20-year-old who has smoked every level he’s ever played in, is ranked 4th in rookie scoring despite bouncing around lines, and two of the three ahead of him play on his team. On almost every team in the league, he’d be the young talent that their next wave would be built around.  He’s an immensely talented and cost-effective member of a very good young team that won’t be looking to throw away the asset unless somebody absolutely blew them away with an offer, that would require the type of players that none of these teams to move right now.

There is no inclination that the Leafs are actually chasing this. There’s no reason why they should, and there’s only one place giving it the time of day. Until that speculation grows beyond them, which is unlikely to happen for a very long time, I probably stop giving it much attention.