Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock did nothing to curb his outspoken nature when asked about William Nylander again today, telling reporters including Jonas Siegel of The Athletic that he still believes that the young forward will be on the team but the organization won’t beg him to return. Meanwhile, Frank Seravalli of TSN tweeted this morning that the Philadelphia Flyers had been in touch with Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas in his recent “last call” for trade offers. TSN broadcaster Gord Miller also heard that from a source in Philadelphia, and detailed what those talks were about:
This was the previous regime that was contacted by the Leafs on the weekend, and the Leafs asked for—they wanted to tap into the Flyers’ young D. Right away the Flyers said “Ivan Provorov? Not touchable.” So Provorov, who scored 17 goals last year is not on the table. Now again, this is the old regime. So the focus turned to Shayne Gostisbehere.
When Miller references the “old regime” he is speaking about former Flyers GM Ron Hextall, who was let go this week along with assistant GM Chris Pryor. The conversation regarding a fit between the Flyers and Nylander continues, but is highly speculative at that point especially given the changes in the Philadelphia front office since this apparent negotiation happened. Still, it only lends credence to the idea that Dubas and the Maple Leafs have been doing their due diligence in preparation for the deadline tomorrow, when there will finally (hopefully) be a conclusion one way or the other regarding Nylander.
- Speaking of Hextall’s recent firing, the former Philadelphia GM spoke with the media today and expressed his shock at the entire situation. Hextall did not see his dismissal coming, and was “stunned” when team president Paul Holmgren delivered the news. Hextall is of course a legend in Philadelphia from his playing days, including being one of the rare players to ever win a Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP despite losing in the Stanley Cup Finals. Still, his tenure as GM had not yet resulted in any deep playoff success and upper management had grown tired of waiting.
- With all eyes still on the Buffalo Sabres as they continue their fight for the Atlantic Division crown just a year after finishing last in the NHL, a new face will be scrutinized under the lights. Lawrence Pilut will make his NHL debut according to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News, despite the recent recall of Matt Tennyson. That gives Buffalo fans another highly anticipated Swedish defenseman to watch, and one that brings plenty of offensive upside. Pilut had 22 points in 16 games for the Rochester Americans before his call-up, and is still just 22 years old.