The Toronto Maple Leafs are reportedly ready to enter the next phase with William Nylander. Things between the forward restricted free agent and the franchise have warped to the point of being unsustainable, which pretty much means another option is on the table.

According to multiple reports, that option is a trade.

Toronto’s management is manifestly preparing to accept and hear offers on Nylander, said Sportsnet’s Elliote Friedman. “Word is that they have asked teams to inform them who teams or interested parties would not be willing to move and also to begin to preparing formal offers for the unsigned Toronto winger,” he said on HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA Saturday.

Let’s get real: there’s been almost no forward movement on the contract talks and that doesn’t bode well. The Maple Leafs are running out of time and so is Nylander, who has to be on the ice by December 1st or he won’t be eligible to suit up this season.

That doesn’t mean a zero hour deal couldn’t come into play at the end of November, some kind of bridge arrangement that suits the needs of both sides until a more enduring solution can get ironed out.

But a trade is increasingly looking like the answer.

According to reports, the Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes are among the interested teams.

The Kings could certainly use him, as they’ve been superbly lethargic and need fresh blood. They could put together a sensible package for Nylander, who could turn up at centre eventually and address a clear roster need. Los Angeles boasts the least-productive offence in the NHL and that doesn’t show signs of changing anytime soon.

But the Hurricanes are also in the picture and duly so. They’re in need of scoring and the Maple Leafs need defence. Carolina could ice up a package with either Brett Pesce or Justin Faulk and that would be adequate to get Toronto on the line.

A long but conceivable shot is the Minnesota Wild, who will find themselves a team in transition. They’re starting to look older at centre – okay, maybe not starting to – and that means Nylander is an attractive piece. New general manager Paul Fenton could be in the mood to make an impact move to establish this roster as truly his and Nylander would be a great place to hang his proverbial hat.

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