Since signing his six-year, $45MM contract in December, Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander has found himself struggling mightily with just one goal and three points in 19 games (and a current seven-game scoreless streak). Nylander, who admitted to being in the worst slump of his career, showed up to practice this morning both clean-shaven and on a new line as the 22-year-old has been moved down to the team’s fourth line along with Frederik Gauthier and Par Lindholm, according to TSN’s Kristen Shilton.
“He’s getting in his own way. He thought things were going to come easier, and when it didn’t come, you’re pressing and then you press some more,” explained head coach Mike Babcock ahead of the Leafs’ matchup Sunday night against the Arizona Coyotes. “It’s not like he’s not trying, and it’s not like we’re not trying to help him. We’re doing all that; it’s just not going as good for him. Ideally this will allow him to take some heat off himself and get playing.”
Babcock pointed out that Nylander has always been used to being a dominant player who shoots the puck with confidence. However, the opposite of that is true as he has just six shots on goal in his last four games, and even worse, holds a minus-seven rating.
- There has been much concern over the struggles of 2017 second-overall pick Nolan Patrick this season, especially concerning his lack of production considering a week ago, he had five goals and 11 points in 38 games. The 20-year-old has finally responded with two multi-point games in his last three, including a two-goal, two-assist performance Monday, followed by another two-goal game Saturday. Charlie O’Connor of The Athletic (subscription required) writes that Patrick’s confidence seems to be soaring and the youngster seems to be figuring things out. Patrick, who tallied 13 goals and 30 points last season as a rookie, is beginning to show his assertiveness like he did a year ago during the second half of the season.
- The latest Boston Bruins’ player to find himself scratched was Ryan Donato, according to Matt Porter of The Boston Globe. And while many would think that he found himself in the press box due to scoring just one goal in the past 10 games, head coach Bruce Cassidy had a different reason. The coach wants Donato to work harder on his strength on the puck. Donato needs to learn how to get the upper hand on larger and stronger defenseman, something that many young players struggle to do. “It’s not like a flat tire you put air in and it gets fixed,” Cassidy said. “It takes a while. Some guys have it naturally.”