The Toronto Maple Leafs organization did a great job during this past offseason making the moves necessary to fill their roster gaps and change their identity into a more suitable play-off team while retaining their key players and locking-up their most valuable player, Auston Matthews, to a multi-year extension.
However, one item remains unchecked from Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving’s perceived offseason checklist and that would be signing core forward, William Nylander, to a contract extension.
William Nylander is had a career year last season with career highs is goals (40) and points (87). He lead the Leafs in goals (tied with Auston Matthews) and was second on the team in points behind only Mitch Marner (99). (Stats from TSN.ca)
Nylander’s current deal of $6,962,366 per season looks like a bargain. Reports say he’s looking for $10 million per season on his next contract while the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to sign him for under $9. Are the two sides really that far apart? Why haven’t they gotten a deal done?
Toronto Maple Leafs Lack of William Nylander Extension May Be a Blessing
Money motivates. Time and time again in the NHL, a player will explode with maximum effort and destroy the stats sheets just in time for a new contract. Was this the case with William Nylander last season and if so, would it be best to maximize this offensive output for as long as possible? Perhaps so.
In this first month of the 2023-24 season, William Nylander has been the best I’ve ever seen him. As I’m writing this , he has five goals and 11 points in his first seven games of the season which leads the team in points (tied with John Tavares) and is second in goals behind only Auston Matthews (7).
Obviously, there is a risk involved in the Toronto Maple Leafs not signing William Nylander immediately. They don’t want to lose him for nothing if he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Nylander has a reputation as a tough negotiator after holding out until the last moment and nearly missing the entire 2018-19 season as a restricted free agent.
There are also dozens of trade rumours whirling around William Nylander right now. Again, the Toronto Maple Leafs don’t want to lose him for nothing, so a trade might be the answer if he’s not signed by the NHL trade deadline. Nylander does have a 10 team trade no trade clause in his current contract.
I’m hoping a deal gets done before that scenario. William Nylander has been a pleasure to watch in Toronto, and I hope he continues to play with the Leafs for many seasons to come.