Anthony Petrielli talks Garret Sparks, William Nylander on Sportsnet 590

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William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs scores against the Edmonton Oilers
Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Maple Leafs Hot Stove’s Anthony Petrielli joined Sportsnet Tonight on Monday to discuss the play of Garret Sparks so far this season and the William Nylander saga.


On whether the coaching staff will have much confidence in Garret Sparks when he starts again, presumably as early as later this week in the back-to-back:

I don’t know how much confidence they’ll have, but I think it’s something they’ll need to do. He’s not played much. He’s not used to not playing much, especially based on his last few seasons with the Marlies.

It’s hard to go in in the NHL – no matter who you are – if you’re only playing once a month. You kind of see that going on with him. His style is unconventional, though. Sometimes it looks like he loses the net a little bit. He can overreact to shots and slide in and out of the crease a little bit too aggressively. It’s his style of play, though, so you kind of have to be willing to live with it if you’re going to go with Garret Sparks.

We’re kind of seeing, perhaps, some of the hesitation many people had in the preseason when they were like, “Should they just stick with the vet and the known quantity, or do they go with the young guy because he’s younger and has a bit of a track record now because of his AHL play?”

It’s kind of par for the course going with this decision.

On whether the loss last Saturday to the Bruins is an indication that the Leafs should really want to avoid the Boston matchup in the playoffs:

Personally, I would love to get Boston again. That game probably isn’t enough proof. There is no Matthews. We have no idea what is happening with the Nylander situation. The drop from Andersen to Sparks is the size of a canyon of at this point. If you factor in those things… I know that Boston was missing Rask and they had Halak and were missing McAvoy, but compared to what the Leafs were missing and the fact that the Leafs played the night before and then traveled…

Honestly, the Leafs dominated them in the first period. They just couldn’t score. You have one of those games where you broke 20 shots and you’re losing after the first. What is the percentage of losing that game after that?

On whether the Leafs should trade Nylander before the Dec. 1 deadline if a deal can’t be reached:

For a few reasons, I would almost positively sit on him for the season. I just don’t see a world where they get back anything close to the value Nylander could provide. They don’t need to be selling extremely low on guys. They would already be negotiating from the low end of the totem pole, which is never a good start. Teams also have to sign Nylander.

The teams that we are hearing that are interested in him are teams like LA, who have very little that the Leafs should want that is a young player, and Carolina would be the same. You hear, “Carolina is going to be interested, except for every good young player on their team is not going to be included in the deal.” What is the point then? There is no point in trading him just to wash your hands of it and get a lesser return. If they could get a great return or a legitimate centerpiece back – preferably a defenseman – by all means. It seems very unlikely that’s actually going to happen.

On where things sit in the negotiation:

In fairness to Nylander, I haven’t really seen anything that is concrete in terms of what the Leafs are offering or even what he is asking. On Hockey Night In Canada, they pretty much alluded to maybe the Pastrnak deal being on the table but didn’t really officially say the Leafs have offered that.

Nylander is not as good as Pastrnak, but when that deal was signed and the way the cap has inflated, if you’re not offering him in the middle of the $6 million range on a long-term deal, I don’t know what you’re offering him. That is a completely fine deal to offer William Nylander.