William Nylander hopes a new number means a fresh start.
After a decidedly sub-par season, the Maple Leafs winger announced Monday he was changing from 29 to 88, a number he had in his early career in Sweden. As a rookie with the Leafs he wore No. 39.
Nylander had 27 points in 54 games after a protracted contract impasse with the Leafs which saw him idled until Dec. 1. Catching up to the NHL pace took some time and Nylander only looked like his old self in flashes. He had back-to-back 61-point seasons before 2018-19 and eventually received a six-year deal worth just under US$42 million.
Nylander announced on Twitter his intention to change numbers – “what’s old is new again” he said, along with a picture of him wearing 88 for club team MoDo. He even offered to pay for re-cresting at the official team store Real Sports for Leafs fans who bought his No. 29 jersey.
Eric Lindros had his famous No. 88 for the Leafs in 2005-06, getting 22 points in 33 games, the only Toronto player to have worn it.
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