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Nylander stands by Leafs' core: 'We were f-----g right there'

Mark Blinch / National Hockey League / Getty

Warning: Story contains coarse language

Despite another early playoff exit, Toronto Maple Leafs star William Nylander doesn't want to see his team undergo radical changes.

"Look, I don't think there's an issue with the core," he said after Toronto's season ended Saturday night. "I think we were fucking right there all series. Battled hard and got it to Game 7 and OT. That's a shitty feeling."

Boston Bruins sniper David Pastrnak scored the series winner in the extra frame, making Toronto a first-round boot for the seventh time in the last eight seasons.

The Maple Leafs fought back to force Game 7 after being down 3-1 in the series.

Toronto won its first playoff series since 2004 last season but was swiftly ousted by the Florida Panthers in the second round. The Leafs parted ways with then-general manager Kyle Dubas as a result but kept the team's core four forwards - Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and Nylander - together.

Here's how the group performed against the Bruins:

Player GP G P
Auston Matthews 5 1 4
William Nylander 4 3 3
Mitch Marner 7 1 3
John Tavares 7 1 2

Nylander scored both of Toronto's goals in its 2-1 Game 6 victory on Thursday night, and he potted the Leafs' only tally Saturday.

The 28-year-old Swede confirmed that he missed the first three games of the series because of a migraine, which made it difficult for him to see when a headache set in, per The Canadian Press' Joshua Clipperton.

Nylander signed an eight-year, $92-million extension in January, which includes a no-move clause. Matthews' four-year, $53-million contract kicks in next season, and it also features a no-move clause.

Marner and Tavares both have one year remaining and a full no-move clause. Marner carries a cap hit of $10.9 million, while Tavares has an average annual value of $11 million. Both players are eligible to ink new pacts July 1.

Morgan Rielly is also considered a part of the Leafs' core. He's signed for six more seasons and has an average annual value of $7.5 million. His contract features a no-move clause for the next four seasons and a 10-team no-trade list for the last two.

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