What I would give to be a professional sports athlete.
How could one not want that lifestyle? You get to play a game that you love, get paid tons of money to do so, get to go all over the country/world, and get an opportunity to win your sports’ most important trophy. That sounds like an awesome life to me.
Some professional athletes do not seem to understand this. It boggles my mind and makes me furious because tons of people would do anything to be in their position.
One player in the NHL who currently falls into this category is Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward William Nylander. Nylander, 22, was great last season for the blue and white as he had 61 points for the second straight season and was one of the team’s most consistent point producers.
Right now, the Leafs are without him because he has yet to come to terms with the club on his RFA deal. Nylander needs a deal and at this stage of the season, this is already considered a lengthy holdout.
Clearly, Leafs’ management needs to be careful. Both Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner are scheduled to become RFA’s this summer. These are two extremely important pieces for this franchise and their success moving forward will depend on how general manager Kyle Dubas handles these contracts.
In my opinion, Nylander needs to look at the big picture. With the roster that they currently have and the one they could have following this season, this team is going to be a Cup contender for many years to come.
With guys like John Tavares, Matthews, Marner, Nazem Kadri, Kasperi Kapanen, Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner and others, the Leafs should be able to put themselves in a good position for a very long time. Clearly, it will be dependent on the deals for Nylander, Matthews, and Marner.
Nylander needs to grow up a bit here and look at what he can accomplish both now and in the future with the Leafs. He has the opportunity to become the first member of his hockey-playing family to win a Cup, something every hockey player craves.
It’s time to put his big boy pants on and get back out on the ice. Sure, the team is doing fine without him as they are currently atop the Atlantic Division with 6 points (3-1) and they are also doing more than fine when it comes to putting the puck in the net.
With that said, they could be even better if Nylander was in the lineup. It’s time for Nylander to help make that happen.
Photo: Toronto Sun