It is no secret the Leafs are in the market for a top-four defenceman, but the price now being attached to that type of player is getting out of hand.
The Leafs have been at the centre of trade rumours for many months now, dating back to the hold out of Jacob Trouba, but there has always been a pretty big price.
A top-four defenceman is the desired player, with the Leafs seemingly ready to advance their rebuild and take things to the next stage much faster than previously anticipated.
James van Riemsdyk has been a constant but, with him performing at such a high level for a team now looking to secure a playoff spot this season, the Leafs may be inclined to hold onto him.
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But more recently, another player has cropped up as being the potential price the Leafs would need to pay in order to acquire their desired defenceman – William Nylander.
In 44 NHL games, Nylander has nine goals and a total of 30 points to his name – placing him fifth in NHL rookie scoring this season.
Matthews and Marner have lit up the league this season and shown everyone the kind of talent they have, with the former leading rookies in goals and the latter leading rookies in total points scored at the time of writing.
Nylander, however, has come under some criticism during the season – with rumours and comments surfacing that he doesn’t try as hard as other players.
“I think [William] Nylander is the player they’re going to have to consider moving if they want that high-end D-man” – a Western Conference team executive told Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
This kind of comment is not true, with Nylander currently ranked second on the Leafs for assists and joint-fifth on the team in total points – a position he shares with veteran centre Tyler Bozak.
The Swedish forward, capable of playing both on the wing and as a center, is a key piece to the Leafs’ future.
The team is pushing for a playoff spot in the rookie season of six players, including Nylander, and ensuring they keep that young core around for a long time will be crucial to their continued rebuild.
A top-four defenceman would be an ideal piece for the Leafs.
However, they could wait until free agency this summer to potentially acquire someone capable of doing that job.
But Nylander, is just too much to give up so early into his career.
What do you think? Should the Leafs go for a top-four defenceman no matter what? Or should they hold onto the likes of Nylander and JVR at all costs? Let us know in the comments!