Kasperi Kapanen’s play could make trading William Nylander easier
Toronto Sun: Many think Kasperi Kapanen was being wasted on the fourth ‘Nordic Combined’ line with Par Lindholm and Andreas Johnsson, as those two are a step behind him offensively. Mike Babcock’s lineup decision is clear. His praise of Kapanen come with a proviso, however, to use his bigger body and model his game more like the bulldozing Zach Hyman does for Tavares and Mitch Marner.
But if those top six forwards keep rolling, how much will the club miss William Nylander moving ahead?
Don’t expect Nylander and his agents to cave and for him to grab the next plane from Stockholm, but with 13 goals in three games, the Leafs would not seem to be in a hurry to close the rumoured $2 million US gap per year in the talks for a long-term deal.
If Kapanen really gels with Austin Matthews over the next few games, you have to think the Toronto Maple Leafs will look into trading William Nylander for a young top-4 defenceman.
Will the Minnesota Wild look to make changes?
StarTribune: The Minnesota Wild has moved past the first round only twice during six playoff berths, whiffing at the lofty ambitions that were implemented during the assembly process. The aftermath of its most recent slip-up ushered in new General Manager Paul Fenton, who now has the power to transform the team as he sees fit to provoke progress.
Eric Staal says, “That’s the reality of this business and professional sports,” Staal said. “If he’s not liking what he’s seeing, and he doesn’t have a good vibe with our group, then he’ll be inclined to make changes. That’s just the way it works. But I think the reality is I feel and I think a lot of our guys feel we’ve got good players. We’ve got a good team.”
There isn’t a deadline in Fenton’s mind for when he’ll start to fiddle with the look if he isn’t encouraged by the results, but he also hasn’t made a final assessment of the team.