Maple Leafs Hot Stove’s Anthony Petrielli joined TSN1200’s Battle of the Atlantic on Saturday to discuss the team’s forward depth without William Nylander, contract negotiations with Nylander, and more.

On the Leafs‘ offensive numbers and whether it’s overshadowing other issues with the team’s play:

I think it’s a little bit deceiving. It’s slightly smoke and mirrors. Their power play is amazing. Without question, they should have the best power play in the league. If they don’t end the season with it, I think everyone would still probably say that it’s the best power play in the league. If you had to put out one unit to score in any given game, the Leafs have that unit.

At 5-on-5, it is a little bit of a different story. Their bottom two units are basically non-existent offensively. No one is worried about a line centered by Frederik Gauthier. The Kadri line — Par Lindholm has started to figure it out a little bit, but at the same time, Connor Brown has pretty much been non-existent offensively. Kadri’s production is really limited to the power play at this point. Those bottom two lines don’t offer much, and when the games tighten up, the refs stop calling penalties as the season goes on and especially in the playoffs. They need more than two lines.

When the games tighten up, it’s going to be interesting to see how they adjust. They’re going to have to find some scoring on the depth lines — whether it’s Connor Brown, whether it’s Nylander signing and bumping someone down the lineup to give them a little bit more depth.

Right now, the five on five game, I don’t think it’s the worse thing in the world to play them if you were a good opponent. The top teams all have at least two good lines. The Leafs haven’t really figured out what their third line is going to be or what kind of role it’s going to be. They went into the year saying Kadri was going to be the shutdown center, which didn’t really make much sense considering you have Matthews and Tavares playing above them. I don’t know how you would distribute minutes properly if you’re going to have Kadri go up against top lines head to head. They seem to have gotten away from that already, which was only a matter of time.

They’re a really good team. They’re going to make the playoffs. They’re a legit Cup contender and I don’t want to take anything away from them. At the same time, they kind of have this tendency to wait for power plays and try to open the game up. That’s the whole story for them.

On whether there is more urgency on Kyle Dubas or William Nylander’s side of the negotiation:

Kyle Dubas was in Switzerland this week as was widely reported. Of course, he should be trying to get it done and there is a slight part of me that wonders if a more experienced manager would get that done, but that’s a whole story in and of itself.

But, generally speaking, he is playing it right. He holds all the power. He holds all the cards. He should continue to play it that way. He has no reason to rush to a deal. Nylander has basically zero leverage. This is him exercising the very limited leverage he does have at his disposal, which is by not playing. But the Leafs are going to make the playoffs with or without him. How far they go, he will impact significantly.

He is a really good player. They can’t just not have Nylander and also not trade him and expect to be the elite team they can be. I think they are really good right now, but he would push them to another level without question.

If you’re Dubas, you’re just kind of waiting on it, though. There is no reason not to. The biggest part to it is that he hasn’t signed Marner or Matthews, so those two players take priority. He has to stick it out for those negotiations. He can’t get the first one wrong and then go into the other two because that will have a really bad trickle-down effect. He shouldn’t have any sense of urgency.

“This is the offer. If you want to play hockey this year for a Cup contender, this is what I am offering you. If not, enjoy taking practice in Austria.”