Photo credit: Toronto Star
Nylander drops a very blunt quote, which lets us know exactly where his head is at right now amid a scoring slump
BY DEAN CHAUDHRY MARCH 22, 2023 (10:49)
Nylander was relegated out of the Leafs top-6 and demoted to the third line to play alongside Bobby McMann and Sam Lafferty. It's obviously not a slight to either player but Nylander entered tonight's game 1st on the team with 35 goals and in points with 79. He should be stapled in the top-6 with either Auston Matthews or John Tavares.
However, Keefe's plan was to get his legs moving, make sure he stayed away from the perimeter, and attacked the dangerous areas with his pace. After seeing his ice-time decrease from 21:12 to 17:32 to 16:53 over this last 3 point-less outings, his ice-time jumped back up to 20:32.
Nylander went without a point in his 4th consecutive game and only fired 3 shots on goal. If there is a silver lining, he finished the game with an even rating compared to John Tavares and Mitch Marner who were each minus 3.
Nevertheless, this is not the time to be looking for silver linings as the season is coming to a close with the post-season being less than a month away. After the game, Nylander gave us an insight on his own play:
"I haven't been happy with my game. I'm pissed off about it. It happens. You just have to dig yourself out of it." - Nylander on his recent struggles
The doldrums of an 82-game season happens to everyone. Nylander hasn't struggled all too much this season as he has only gone pointless in 3+ games one other time from January 5th to January 8th and went without a point in consecutive games 3 separate times. That in it of itself is the definition of a career season and a consistent one at that.
Nylander will eventually find his way out of this slump and with how loaded the offense is and whoever he's skating with - whether 5 on 5 or with the extra man - he'll burst back onto the scoresheet in no time. Unfortunately for the time being, he'll be in his own head for a little bit but he'll be back on the ice on Thursday night against the Florida Panthers.