The Toronto Maple Leafs face a difficult situation with William Nylander’s contract. Rumours are circulating that the team and the young Swedish winger are far apart in their negotiations. It would seem that signing a contract extension might be out of the cards this offseason.

Is that reason for panic? Some fans and hockey analysts suggest that it is. Some encourage the Maple Leafs to sell now, while Nylander’s value is the highest. However, the recent Ottawa Senators’ trade of Alex DeBrincat suggests that the team might find it tough to get a fair return for Nylander.

Do they dump him anyway for what they can recover? I say No.

But then, what’s next for the team? How do they find a fair in-between settlement?

In this blog, I’ll explore the possibilities and the psychological concept of the “power shift theory” that might come into play. It would allow both the team and the player to have a more equal part of the negotiations.

Related: Insider Lists 6 Reasons Maple Leafs Should Trade Nylander

The Nylander Contract Situation

As it stands, it appears to me that Nylander will enter the 2023-24 regular season without a contract extension. While some fans might panic and call for a trade, I believe there’s value in letting him play out his deal. If he explores free agency later and leaves, the team will have his salary cleared. In the worst-case scenario, it would provide the team with an opportunity to pursue other players in the free-agent market.

Shifting the Power in the Negotiations

In psychology, there’s a concept called the “power shift theory.” It suggests that positive psychological effects occur when the chaser becomes the one being chased. Specifically, currently, the Maple Leafs are chasing down Nylander and hoping he will sign a contract. Currently, that gives Nylander and his agent the upper hand in negotiations. However, when his contract expires, the power dynamic could change significantly.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Nylander, Klingberg & Timmins

Nylander Would Face a Potential Decision

If Nylander’s contract expires, he would “walk to free agency.” But that doesn’t mean he won’t re-sign at that point with the Maple Leafs. The truth is that he would have a chance to assess his options carefully. Sure, he might find attractive offers somewhere else. If so, he could leave. However, he could also realize that staying with the Maple Leafs offers unique benefits and fits his preferences best.

In this scenario, suddenly the ball would be in Nylander’s court. It would put the team in a more advantageous position. It would equal out the interests at play.

The Impact on Maple Leafs’ Team Dynamics

Yes, there is a possibility that Nylander could leave. If so, so be it. Good for him. In that situation, if he chooses to leave, the team can confidently pursue other players with the salary cleared from his contract.

However, the potential shift in power dynamics could alter the team’s approach to contract negotiations. If Nylander wants to stay, the team will have leverage. In that case, they might be able to negotiate a more favourable deal from their point of view.

The Bottom Line

While the future for the Maple Leafs and Nylander remains uncertain, I don’t believe there’s any need to panic. Allowing Nylander to play out his contract might be a strategic move that opens up opportunities for the team in the free-agent market. It’s a fair way to do business.

William Nylander, Maple Leafs Rookie Card

Thinking logically, the power shift theory in psychology adds an interesting dimension to the situation. If the negotiations are going to be hard-ball, then turning the tables by leveraging power could turn in the team’s favour.

Whatever happens, the Maple Leafs need to be prepared to adapt and thrive on and off the ice.

Related: Six Worries Maple Leafs Have about Signing William Nylander

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