Maple Leafs Testing Nylander Out In New Role

An interesting way to kick off training camp to say the least is Sheldon Keefe trying William Nylander out at center. He said as much and this will create immense depth for the Toronto Maple Leafs, even more than they already had.

Nylander is going into his final season under contract and will be a UFA next summer. It has been made clear by both sides that they want to get something done, but it is also out in the open that both sides aren't anywhere near each other in terms of AAV.

Nylander has always been a top-six winger and I think that's where he plays best. It is a different look to have him start down the middle to create the center depth of Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Nylander, and David Kampf. This would allow for the Maple Leafs to shift to more of a three-line dominant team and have Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, Calle Jarnkrok, and Matthew Knies all in impactful roles on the wing playing with an elite centerman.

Trying Nylander out at center could be an attempt to alter things in Toronto to help them win a Stanley Cup and to also get the price of Nylander down a bit with a season as a third line centerman. I can see Nylander at center even working out as he will likely produce a bit less points, but boost other players to more points, evening it out and keeping his price down below $10 million AAV. This could be a long-term solution for when Tavares' contract is over in two seasons and he isn't a top-six talent anymore or not with the team. It is definitely something to watch as training camp opens.

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