NHL Rumors: The Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander

NHL Rumors: The Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander

Oct 11, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing William Nylander (88) attempts a shot on Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen (34) during the shootout at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Leaf Report: Chris Johnston on The Leaf Report on William Nylander’s contract situation with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

** NHLRumors.com transcription

Jonas Seigel: “So this is like a big picture question, think down the line. I’m just curious, I thought about while you were talking.

What do you think, if you look ahead to next summer, let’s say this Nylander thing, let’s just say they don’t sign him?

Johnston: “Okay. We should stop right there. I don’t think there’s any reason, any reason to think Nylander won’t sign an extension in Toronto.

Here’s the dirty secret of that negotiation in my opinion. The Leafs know he doesn’t want to play anywhere else. Like that’s, that’s the one thing I think that…

Seigel: “Do you really think that that’s true?”

Johnston: “I really think that that’s true. I’m not saying, look at…”

Seigel: “Did Zach Hyman want to play anywhere else?”

Johnston: “I think Zach Hyman was in a different spot because he knew he had to maximize his contract on that contract and the Leafs couldn’t do that.

Seigel: “But so, if another, if the Leafs are not going to pay up to keep him, what happens?

Johnston: “Let’s flush it out a little more. The Leafs are the only team that can sign him to an eight-year deal. So what the Leafs can pay him over eight years and what another team if he leaves on July 1st as free agent can pay him over seven years is not really that different, right?

Like, to you use round numbers, if the Leafs gave him $9.5 million on an eight-year deal, that’s $76 million right? So a team on a seven-year deal would have to pay him 10, over $10 million to get to that, almost $11 million.

Seigel: “Yeah, it would be more.”

Johnston: “It would be hard. I’m just saying I don’t think that, there’s lots of teams out there that like William Nylander. I just don’t think that (inaudible) what the Leafs can give him on an eight-year deal. What other teams will give him on a seven-year deal and the fact that this is a player that loves, like truly loves Toronto. Wants to be in Toronto. Doesn’t want to consider being anywhere else.

Like I just think if you put that all in a stew together, they’re gonna find their way.

Seigel: “But what if they’re not willing to come up $9.5. Like, are they?”

Johnston: “This is a negotiation. This is how it goes. I mean.”

Seigel: “I wonder, Chris, could you see it being like a Stamkos situation where it gets all the way to free agency and he kicks tires with other teams, and says ‘you know what, I’m coming back.’”

Johnston: “I don’t know if it will go that far cause that one’s so rare. James you remember the Stamkos situation, that was what, 2016? Cause it’s so rare but I think it’s possible.

I mean it’s a big game of chicken, right? And, you know, to fair William Nylander has shown he’s willing to go right to the wire with that December 1st, at whatever 4:00 pm Eastern time deal he got done with the Leafs just before the deadline a few years ago when he was a restricted free agent.

Obviously, his agent Lewis Gross is currently part of a situation where he doesn’t have a client signed in Ottawa, Shane Pinto. Was Johnny Gaudreau‘s agent and was Nylander’s agent. Like he’s someone who’s willing to take things right to the brink, we’ll call it.

I think if you have a player who wants to be here, and I know the team really, really, really wants to sign him. I think ultimately cooler heads will prevail and he’ll be a Leaf.

I honestly, I’m willing to say, I would put it at, at least 90 percent odds right now that Nylander’s a Leaf come next season.”

Seigel: “I”m sure, that Leaf fans will be happy to hear.”

Johnston: “But you know, the Leafs are going to have to pay for it, especially if he plays this way. It’s, you know if last year wasn’t an aberration, obviously, he’s coming off two seasons where he’s increased his best point totals as an NHL player. Like if he tops it again, I mean he’s, I can’t tell you where the numbers going to end up.

I think it just makes too much sense, that they’re going to get something done. It might take the whole season though.”

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