Maple Leafs Head Coach Sheldon Keefe Takes A Major Shot At William Nylander

Tyler Ball
December 25, 2023  (7:02 PM)

Photo credit: Dan Hamilton - USA Today Sports

Before the Maple Leafs went home for the holidays head coach Sheldon Keefe addressed the media. During his remarks, he was asked about the play of the top line. His remarks regarding William Nylander are shocking.

Maple Leafs Head Coach Takes A Major Shot At Nylander

Before the Maple Leafs last game going into the break on Saturday Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe was asked about Auston Matthews and the top line. Keefe acknowledges that during the team's losing streak Auston Matthews has played well but the same cannot be said for his linemate William Nylander.
"Probably the biggest thing is that we are coming off a couple of losses here. Despite the fact that Matthews has been scoring consistently, I don't know if I would say Willy has been a huge contributor to those goals. I believe that Auston could still continue to be Auston and work well no matter who we have him with."

This is a huge shot at William Nylander who for a time this season was the Maple Leafs most consistent player. Despite his impressive stats Sheldon Keefe is still looking to get more out of his superstar winger.

Is Keefe Too Critical Of Nylander?

Sheldon Keefe at least on the surface does not seem to have an argument in his favor. Nylander has 9 points in his last 5 games and 17 over his last 10. He also continues to lead the team in points 4 ahead of praised linemate Auston Matthews.
While Nylander is succeeding on the scoresheet it could be fair to say Nylander had been benefiting from playing with Matthews more than the inverse. This also could have been a motivation tactic from Keefe knowing what his players need to play well.
Regardless of the meaning of the callout, it seems to have worked. Nylander put up a 3-point performance that night against the Blue Jackets. That equaled his season-best game in points and showed why he is a superstar in the NHL.
Now with an excellent game under his belt hopefully Nylander can come out of the gate flying after the Christmas break.