Leafs' Nylander switches numbers, volunteers to re-crest fans' jerseys

(wmnylander/Twitter)

At the very least, William Nylander is having a more endearing lead-up to the start of this NHL season.

Announcing Monday that he will switch his sweater from No. 29 to No. 88 for the upcoming and (hopefully) unabbreviated campaign, the Toronto Maple Leafs forward has offered to use his own dime to re-crest sweaters for fans that had bought his jersey prior to the change.

Nylander wore No. 88 with MODO of the Swedish Hockey League before embarking on his career in North America soon after the Maple Leafs selected him eighth overall in 2014.

He’s also worn the digits while representing his country on the international stage, often starring in those appearances.

It will be the third sweater number Nylander will don with the Maple Leafs. He wore No. 39 as a rookie before switching to No. 29 — the number he has had for the last three seasons.

Eric Lindros is the only other player to wear the number in a Maple Leafs sweater, but it’s another No. 88 that draws a closer parallel. Nylander’s childhood friend, former teammate and recent postseason rival, the Boston Bruins’ David Pastrnak, has been wearing No. 88 since he broke into the league in 2014.

Nylander was limited to seven goals and 27 points in 54 games after a contract stalemate delayed the start of his 2018-19 season. He eventually signed a six-year deal worth $45 million — surely enough to re-outfit his biggest fans.

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