New Jersey Devils: Would You Trade Ty Smith for William Nylander?

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 16: William Nylander #29 of the Toronto Maple Leafs sits on the boards while playing the New Jersey Devils during the second period at the Air Canada Centre on November 16, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 16: William Nylander #29 of the Toronto Maple Leafs sits on the boards while playing the New Jersey Devils during the second period at the Air Canada Centre on November 16, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images) /

William Nylander only has until December 1st, 2018 to sign a contract otherwise he is ineligible to play in the National Hockey League this season. If he does not sign, we will not see the young star until training camp in 2019.

Most believe that the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to either sign him or trade him before that deadline. I actually believe they would let him sit for the season before they trade him for less than fair value.

So all this hype created the latest Pucks and Pitchforks debate. We put a poll on our Facebook page asking if you would trade defensive prospect, and 2018 New Jersey Devils first-round pick Ty Smith for William Nylander? There are so many variables that should go into this thought process. There are stats, ceilings, and money to consider.

First of all, you have to ask yourself, would the Leafs do this? I think they would. The Devils might have to add a smaller piece of two, but they would almost certainly go after a top defensive prospect like Ty Smith if they were to trade Nylander. That or a top pair type NHL ready defenseman. Smith has a rather high ceiling in terms of a high-grade prospect.

Smith was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the first round of this year’s draftwith the 17th overall pick. He currently plays for the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL. Last season, he played 69 games and recorded 14 goals and 59 assists for 73 points from the blue line. That is very good, even in the WHL.

This season so far, he has 3 goals and 28 assists for 31 points in 20 games. He is one of the best defenseman in the WHL.

Smith also has international competition experience. He’s been great for Team Canada in the World Junior tournament. He will likely be a key difference maker on this year’s team.

Smith looks to have a very bright future in the game of hockey no matter what team he plays for. It will likely be the Devils, but for the sake of argument, I’m going with it.

Now, if I am the Devils brass, would I go through with trading him for William Nylander? The answer is without question, one hundred percent yes. I would without even thinking about it. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t, but there are more reasons why you should.

Nylander is a GREAT player, and he has the potential to turn into something really special. He made his NHL debut during the last third of the 2015-16 NHL season. He went on to play 22 games that season, and recorded six goals and seven assists. That is a pace for 48 points over 82 games as a 19 year old, which is excellent. To put it into perspective, Nico Hischier scored 52 points on a line with the league MVP in his age 19 season. Nylander did that on a Maple Leafs team that came in dead last.

Following that, he played 81 out of 82 games in his age 20 season. This is the season in which his new line mate named Auston Matthews scored 40 goals in his rookie year. Nylander had a lot to do with that thanks to his offensive mind. In that season, Nylander had 22 goals and 39 assists for 61 points. Again, excellent. No sophomore slump for him.

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Then came last season. Lots of expectations on the big boys in Toronto, a hard place to play. William Nylander played all 82 games and scored 20 goals and had 41 assists for 61 points yet again. This shows me outstanding consistency. In his first two full seasons he only missed one total game and scored 61 points each time, and he is only in his early twenties.

Nylander is the type of guy who once he enters his prime, could easily be an 80+ point man. It isn’t guaranteed but he has all the talent in the world and he has proven it at such a young age, and will only get better. It will be interesting to see how the Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander handle this situation.

The only issue for the New Jersey Devils to consider would be the money situation. The New Jersey Devils have tons of cap space. According to cap friendly, they have 66.2 million in cap used, which leaves 13.2 million in free space. Now, after the 2019-20 season Taylor Hall becomes an unrestricted free agent, and you would think the Devils look to sign him long term beginning on July 1st when he becomes eligible to do so. This should cost anywhere from 8-10.5 million. Nico Hischier also needs to be paid, his entry level deal expires at the same time as Hall’s.

A lot of money is going to be spent at the top of the Devils’ lineup, so trading for a guy like William Nylander would certainly be committing to him long term and considering him a part of the core for a very long time, and it would be expensive.

Next. Nylander And Other Players New Jersey Devils Could Trade For. dark

The last time the Devils traded a young defenseman for a winger that was just entering his prime, it worked out well for them. Ty Smith is likely going to be a very good player and a big part of the  Devils’ infrastructure if he is never moved, but until then he is still a prospect and will be just that until he proves himself in the NHL, while Nylander is a budding superstar with all the skill in the world.

I would say it is a long shot, as the Maple Leafs in reality should see the opportunity to have a big four of Matthews, Tavares, Nylander and Mariner and run with it to torture the rest of us, but this is still an actual topic and the possibility of him being moved is still out there. I am content living with the possibility of Ty Smith anchoring the Devils’ back end for the next decade and him making everyone pay for letting him fall to the Devils at pick 17 while we laugh.