Maple Leafs would do well to acquire Nyquist from Blue Jackets

A blow was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets during their trip to Western Canada. Although they went to Edmonton and beat the Oilers in overtime, they lost one of their most experienced players to injury.

Learn all about ice hockey with THW’s Hockeypedia Pages.

To add insult to injury, this player is an upcoming UFA post-season and a big part of recent trade rumours. For Gus Nyquist, it was an injury at the worst possible time.

The Blue Jackets announced on January 28 that Nyquist had been placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury and was out indefinitely. They have since clarified that the injury was a shoulder injury and that he is expected to miss the rest of the regular season.

While the initial reaction was grim and somber, closer examination suggests that not only does Nyquist still have a trade deadline, but this is a unique situation where many other teams may be interested in him now.

As a result, Gus Nyquist could be one of the most attractive trade timeframe options for competitors. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

This is especially true for the Toronto Maple Leafs. When you know their way of doing business, it’s easy to see why Nyquist suddenly seems so much more attractive to them.

Maple Leaves and LTIR

The Maple Leafs live in LTIR country. With Jake Muzzin currently on the roster, they were able to break through the cap. Nick Robertson and Victor Mete are also on LTIR.

How can teams with limited caps get more cap space in a world with salary caps? One option would be to trade a player and their cap to another team. Another option would be to acquire players that can be instantly placed on LTIR.

Latest news and highlights

Enter Nyquist. Since he’s not due until the end of the regular season, any team, including the Maple Leafs, can take control of Nyquist and take action to maneuver the cap and then use the LTIR dollars.

The ceiling reached by Nyquist is $5.5 million. Who among the contestants wouldn’t want this place? A contender could acquire Nyquist, put him on LTIR, and then wouldn’t have to activate him until the playoffs when there’s no salary cap. This could allow these teams to take further steps to strengthen their position.

An important clue. For a team to place Nyquist on LTIR, they would need to be able to buy him while staying within the cap. One way to do that would be for the Maple Leafs to put Auston Matthews on LTIR.

This would open up the necessary space for the Nyquist takeover. Then they could place Nyquist on LTIR and activate Matthews when he’s ready to return.

A truly unique situation

Situations like this don’t happen often. Usually serious injuries make the player untradeable. Instead, this injury could allow teams to strengthen their cap.

The cost of something like this shouldn’t be too high either. Although healthy, Nyquist was not expected to make a first-round pick for the Blue Jackets. Since this is an injury, it indicates a conditional situation where the Blue Jackets would get more if Nyquist played a certain number of playoff games.

A plausible trading scenario would look like this. The Blue Jackets traded Nyquist and his entire cap to the Maple Leafs for a conditional draft pick. The more Nyquist plays, the more the Blue Jackets recover.

This would be good business for the Maple Leafs as the cost of doing business is within their reach and it would open up new opportunities for other industries.

The Maple Leafs will not be alone

When healthy, Nyquist is a good player. He can play in both special teams units in all situations while scoring points in a mid-six role. Competitors would like to add it as depth.

Kyle Dubas and the Maple Leafs would have competition in this unique situation, which could boost Blue Jackets returns. Suddenly, without Mark Stone, the Vegas Golden Knights are desperate to act on schedule. They could do the same as the Maple Leafs and go the LTIR route and allow him to make the playoffs.

Kyle Dubas and the Maple Leafs will give Nyquist competition from other suitors. (Amy Irvin/The Hockey Writers)

The same goes for other competitors using LTIR. I’m thinking of the Edmonton Oilers. I am thinking in particular of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins. Jarmo Kekalainen is expected to get more calls given the uniqueness of the situation.

You might like it too

That would be the best-case scenario for the Blue Jackets. If there is more demand, they may charge a higher price to get the player and cap seat. What was once considered a missed opportunity may turn out to be one of the best opportunities available.

Nyquist wants to play again this season. He will do everything to be ready for this chance. It will rank a competitor and expand someone’s LTIR pool.

The Maple Leafs would do well to do anything to acquire Nyquist. But all the others too. Let the bidding begin.

I’m a recognized author covering the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters, and Erie Otters, as well as the Ontario Hockey League and the NHL Draft. The 2022-23 season will include nine seasons with the Hockey Writers. I am also the Credentials Manager of the site. Please see updated Twitter handle: @mark_scheig.


#Maple #Leafs #acquire #Nyquist #Blue #Jackets