The William Nyander Extension Is Great for the Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders
Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed William Nylander to an eight-year contract extension totaling $92 million.

This puts the annual average value (AAV) worth $11.5 million per season. The contract will also include a full no-movement clause for all eight seasons, which could ensure he is a Toronto Maple Leaf until 2032.

As TSN reporter Chris Johnston stated on Twitter “This will be the largest contract in #leafs history by total value.” It is a big contract and deservedly so. William Nylander is currently on pace to have the highest scoring season by a Maple Leaf since Doug Gilmour in 1992-93. 

So far, Nylander has played 558 games, scoring 198 goals and 286 assists for 484 points. By the end of this season Willy should have eclipsed 500 points. This extension sets him up to possibly reach the coveted 1000 point mark, all as a Maple Leaf. 

The William Nyander Extension Is Great for the Maple Leafs

There will be, and already have been, criticisms of this deal.

When looking at the comparable contracts on capfriendly, taking into account production, age, length, and caphit percentage. His contract is most similar to the deals given to David Pastrnak, Johnny Gaudreau, and Jonathan Huberdeau. The latter two, don’t paint the most optimistic picture however as Huberdeau and Gaudreau have not been the same players since inking their deals. 

The obvious counter to this is that Nylander is already a Maple Leaf whereas Gaudreau and Huberdeau signed their deals before playing a game for their respective teams.

There is familiarity and a track record of success with Nylander, similar to Pastrnak. In the case of Huberdeau, he was also two years older (30) when he signed his deal where Nylander, Pastrnak, and Gaudreau were/are all 28 at the start of their contracts. Also, with the NHL salary cap expected to rise, his contract will continue to look better and better over the next few years.

In saying all of this, the harsh reality is that Nylander will probably not repeat his performance from this season. However, looking at his scoring rates over the last four seasons, they have continued to rise. In 2019/20 he scored at a 0.87 points per game (PPG) rate. In 2020/21 this rose to 0.82 then 0.99, 1.04, and now 1.46 PPG this season. Hopefully, he continues to hover around the 0.9-1.0 mark for the next few seasons. Although stranger things have happened and he could have found his stride and keep up his 1.0 PPG pace or above.

Nylander aside, the Maple Leafs currently have three of their five core players locked up for the next four years after this. Mitch Marner and John Tavares’ contracts are set to expire on July 1st, 2025. The earliest the Leafs can extend them is this summer, and they should try. It is vital that the Leafs lock up their core as soon as possible, it will help to set out a more concrete plan and put a solid foundation down. 

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For now, Brad Treliving and the Toronto Maple Leafs have a big burden off their backs with the William Nylander contract extension finalized. It gives them at minimum two more cracks at a Stanley Cup with this core in place. Hopefully, with this off their plates they can focus on the season at hand and make the most of this 2023-24 season.