NHLTR Mock Trade: Maple Leafs Move William Nylander to the Minnesota Wild

Welcome to NHLTR mock trade series where we will showcase a potential 2023 offseason trade. From minor moves to major transactions, everything will be covered as we try to predict how the chips may fall this summer across the NHL.

The Toronto Maple Leafs could look much different next season. There's been circling speculation about what the intentions of the franchise will be with their 'core four'. Word is team president Brendan Shanahan called each of Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Auston Matthews and John Tavares to inform them it's his intention to have all four back in 2023-24. Only thing is, the new GM is expected to be named in the next 7-10 days and could have other ideas.

If it ends up being Nylander as the core piece being moved for a team shakeup, here's one mock trade to consider:

Toronto trades Nylander to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Joel Eriksson-Ek.

Maple Leafs' Perspective: Here's one way to shake it up. Nylander goes and Toronto brings in a second-line center in Eriksson-Ek who is signed through the 2028-29 season to a very reasonable $5.25 million per season. The Wild's center also does not have any trade protection until the 2024-25 season. He can provide the Leafs a chance to move Tavares to left wing full time, if desired. The 25-year-old Eriksson-Ek recorded 61 points in 78 games last season, while winning close to 50% of his faceoffs. This trade saves the Maple Leafs money short and long term and gives them more depth down the middle of the ice. Moving one core piece to bring in another core piece who is 26 years old and signed to a great contract would be smart business. 

Wild's Perspective: Minnesota does not have a ton of depth at right wing and Nylander would instantly change that. He's struggled to find first-line minutes in Toronto, often times slotting in on the second line and second power play unit, and that would all change with the Wild. Having Nylander and Kirill Kaprizov on either wing of your top line for the foreseeable future is a good recipe for success. Nylander is coming off a career season, recording 87 points in 82 games. The Wild can afford to move Eriksson-Ek as they have the likes of Sam Steel, Frederik Gaudreau, Ryan Hartman down the middle of the ice. 

Thoughts on the proposed trade? 

Photo credit:  Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports