Let me begin by first saying,
both opposing fan-bases will likely hate this trade, thus perhaps demonstrating its parity? (lol).
About a month ago while roaming the Canucks thread, a fellow poster linked an article/tweet that reported that the Toronto Maple Leafs has/had contacted Vancouver's beloved G.M, Jim 'the rim' Benning in the interest of acquiring Chris Tanev. The 'reported' (likely a pile of B.S) rumor indicated that Toronto assembled a package containing the likes of Nylander and a high end pick.
With that in mind, allow me to propose the following trade while highlighting the potential benefits for both teams. I will leave all the negatives to you, the readers; to eloquently and kindly post in the comment section below.
To Vancouver: Nylander, A. Neilsen, 1st round pick.
To Toronto: Tanev, Hansen, 2nd/3rd rounder
+ likely a reasonable cap dump to aid the Leafs absorb the 7 Mil in salary, though they have set themselves up nicely in the cap realm.
Why would Toronto do this?
Simply put, had they kept their opening season pace, they wouldn't. Now however, led by their young, dynamic offense and seemingly decent goal-tending of late, they now look like a sure bet to not only make the playoffs, but actually put up one hell of a fight against their first round draw. (fingers crossed).
Toronto possess a wealth of young forwards (with many more to come), but still lack a certain degree of veteran, gritty forward presence and most importantly, blue-line talent outside the heavily encumbered Rielly, who seemingly carries that entire D-corps on his back.
Tanev, at 27, in his prime and signed to one of the leagues best contracts (4.45 through 2020), is a premier shut down/transition defense-man who's ability to limit shots, clear the puck and shut-down the leagues best, places him among the league elite.
Hansen at 30 years of age, represents the epitome of a perfect 3rd liner. Fast, hard-nosed with the inherent ability to cause turn-overs, big hits and most importantly, chip in offensively is precisely what playoff bound teams covet. Although he might only have 2 or 3 decent seasons left in him, he is signed to a reasonable 2.5 through next season.
Yes it is high. The league has placed an absurd premium on top 4 defenders, look at what Polak...Polak ffs netted the Leafs at the deadline. (Tanev being a top pairing guy as well). For perspective, Hall for Larsson anyone, or the fact that Vancouver essentially paid a 1st, 2nd and 4th for Gudbranson, who is and will never be anywhere near as good as Tanev lol. Hansen also essentially replaces Nylander, (who seemingly is out of favor with Bab's) in the bottom six, bringing a skill-set that is sorely lacking and desperately needed in the playoffs. Side note, Hansen complimenting the speedy, gritty play of Komarov and Kardi on the same team would be outstanding.
"Surely Toronto could get a better D-man at that price?"
The question is never what 'could' you get in return, but who's actually available on the market, which Tanev seemingly is not according to Benning, unless the price is well worth it.
All in all, this trade instantly makes the Leafs a better team and sets them up nicely for both present and future playoff match-ups. Pure and simple. Not only that, but these two pieces are not rentals, are reasonably priced and vaults Toronto out of the basement, passed the 'bubble' status and into consistent playoff contention.
Why would Vancouver do it?
Let's face it, this team is on the decline regardless of the perceived 'success' we are currently witnessing. While Benning has in fact, greatly addressed our defense with the new additions of Tryamkin, Stetcher, soon to be Joulevi and Gudbranson (cough...cough), our forwards ranks are THIN. Outside of Bo, perhaps Boeser (and hopefully Virtanen, though i'm not holding my breath), we are in dire straights with the looming departure of the Twins. We have a whole host of fringe top sixers in Sven, Granlund, Sutter, Rodin etc etc etc, yet none of them possess high end skill or hockey I.Q. Enter Nylander.
Now i know Canucks-land has an intense, inert hatred of anything Leafs and specifically with regards to Nylander but, the kid is oozing offense.
43 points in 66 total NHL games for a ppg of 0.65 at the age of 20 is unreal. Yes he appears weak on the puck at times, yes his defensive acumen has been questioned and his physical game is.....nonexistent, but the same can be said of many of the leagues young, offensively oriented kids.
With Nylander, we instantly have a top six kid (be it on the wing or perhaps at one point, center) who's crafty play-making and elite level hockey sense will not only make players around him better, but could potentially fix our GOD-AWFUL (frank)ing power-play. His play will likely round-out in the future and frankly, his offensive game is still developing. Sky's the limit.
Former 3rd round pick, Anders Nielsen is quite simply, Vantel's wet dream of a defenseman. 20 years old, 6'3, 207 pounds and non-Swedish, Nielsen has put up insane offense from the back end (WHL/AHL) while seemingly remaining quite effective in his own end. Though the likelihood of him becoming an NHL player is still unknown, the odds seem favorable and frankly, that's the risk of acquiring young talent. (http://www.eliteprospects.../player.php?player=131262
No need to explain why we need a 1st round pick (albeit likely in the low range thanks to Tanev's/Hansen's impact on the Leafs).
Yes this trade makes us worse in the short-term, no doubt about that but, it does provide us with what we sorely need down the line. A high-end top six forward to take some weight off Bo, improve the power-play and help mitigate the departure of the twins in 2018. Additionally, Nielsen helps improve our defensive depth with the departure of Tanev and the 1st round pick merely adds to our pretty bare prospect depth.
The current demise of the Pacific division is producing a mirage of non-existent competitiveness. We are not far-off from where we were stats wise at this point last season, it's just that NSH, DAL, L.A, STL and WIN have been slow or taken a huge step back. Assuming we squeak in to that final wild-card spot i personally believe we will be annihilated, ala 2012, 2013 and 2015 playoffs.
"Surely Vancouver could get a better package for a top end Dman"?
As we have seen, top prospects rarely if ever hit the market. For good reason, they are cost controlled, dynamic and generally, only improve. The basis for this trade revolves around the fact that Nylander has been passed on the depth chart by the likes of Marner and Matthews. Without that, i doubt his name would even be discussed. Add in the pick and Neilsen, it is in my eyes, a good trade for two teams who are heading in opposite directions.
Thanks for reading!
Be gentle in the comments section.