Carolina Hurricanes General Manager Don Waddell joined First Up with Landsberg and Colaiacovo on Thursday morning to discuss his reported interest in unsigned RFA winger William Nylander.
Waddell when asked directly, “Are you trying to trade for William Nylander?”:
As you know, the Toronto Maple Leafs are trying to sign the player, and if I were the team, I’d be doing the same thing. He’s a very good player. It’s hard to make those trades. I have been in those spots before trading Dany Heatley, Marian Hossa, Ilya Kovalchuk. It’s never easy to make a trade and feel like you get full value. As a team trying to keep your good players, that is your first priority.
Waddell on whether it is reasonable to assume he does have interest in Nylander if he becomes available:
It’s reasonable in that we know we don’t score goals. We have been in every hockey game. We only had one game where we lost 3-0 and didn’t score. We have been talking to multiple teams about offensive players for that reason. As I sit here in my chair today, any offensive player that might be available we have to explore to every possibility to see if that would be a good fit for us and for the other team.
Waddell on whether he’s surprised it has gotten to this point with Nylander and the Leafs:
Not being on the inside of this deal, I can’t speak about that. But I’ve had deals where you feel like you’ve made traction one day, and then you reset the next day. You are always looking for a way to keep these kinds of players because they are good players and you want to build your team around them.
Negotiations for these types of players are never easy. There are obviously other circumstances now that we have to deal with in the league — the salary cap being one of them — that every team is up against in filling out their roster not just for today but long term.
Not being privy to those conversations, these deals are hard to get done.
Waddell on whether he’s talked to Kyle Dubas about a trade:
Probably multiple teams in the league have talked to Kyle just to see what is going on. We’ve talked over a period of time because we have young players that we are also trying to sign here. We have had many discussions throughout the summer time and as the season has gone along here about their player versus what we are trying to do with some of our young players getting signed also.
Waddell on whether he’s spoken to Nylander’s agent, Lewis Gross:
I have not, to be honest with you. My thinking is that, until you can get to a point where you think you can potentially have a trade, I think you are putting the cart in front of the horse. I rather be in a position where if I knew that was going to happen at some point down the road, then you’d pick up the phone and find out if there is a deal to be made.
Being in this spot multiple times myself, I don’t want to create any illusion or conflict between the Maple Leafs and Nylander trying to get signed. I think it is unfair for me to get into that mix, unless of course, something was moving forward as far as acquiring the player.
Waddell on what his approach would be if he were in Kyle Dubas’ position approaching the Dec. 1 deadline:
He’s made it very clear to anyone he has talked to that his first priority is to try to get this player signed. The deadline that was put in several years ago on December 1st, I think, is a good deadline to have. People are like, “Nothing ever happens in our league,” and if you just look at the deadlines we deal with, nothing ever happens until you are in around the deadline.
I always look at the trade deadline and [TSN] is famous for their trade deadline coverage. Leading up, you’ll have a few trades here or there, and then on that final day, you end up with 25 or 30 trades. I think deadlines are good. In this situation, in the next few weeks, both sides have to make some tough decisions. I’m sure one way or another it will get settled before December 1st.
Waddell on whether he would be willing to move his top draft pick to acquire offensive help like Nylander:
The problem in our situation is we could be very easily a lottery pick again this year. We have a very young nucleus here and we’ve got to continue to build off of that. I don’t think it makes any sense for us to be trading away our top picks or giving away a top pick even when trying to acquire this player or any player. I don’t think it makes sense for our franchise at this point.
Waddell on whether he has the support of ownership to potentially acquire a player of Nylander’s stature/salary:
We look at every situation as they come up. We’ve had other conversations with other teams about players which would be to take on more salary. As long as we are not making knee-jerk reaction trades and we’re trying to continue to build for the future, I think our owner has been very supportive and knows we are going to have to spend some money. I think we would have full support.