There are two questions here, and they’re intertwined. How badly do Mike Babcock and the Toronto Maple Leafs want to develop William Nylander into an NHL centre? And how badly does Nylander himself want to become one? With Nylander’s ailing centreman, Auston Matthews, sitting out practice Tuesday, we put that second question to him. “For me, it’s wherever Mike wants me to play,” Nylander dodged. “If he wants me to play centre, I’ll play centre. If he wants me on the wing, I’ll play on the wing.” OK. But what about two or three seasons from now? Do you have a desire to grow into that role? “I like playing wing and centre, so for me, it’s wherever he wants me to play,” Nylander said. With the Matthews injury thrusting his lines in flux yet again, Babcock said he did consider testing Nylander up the middle, as he did when Matthews left Monday’s morning skate early, but ultimately skated Nylander on the right side of the Nazem Kadri–Leo Komarov duo.
Will the Maple Leafs try William Nylander at centre?
Sportsnet | Nov 7