If you’re a Toronto Maple Leafs fan you’re probably well aware of William Nylander’s contract situation. His contract expires in a year, and if he and the Maple Leafs could reach a deal he would likely sign on for a longer term.
So Where Does This Nylander Deal Stand?
Given the back and forth, especially in the contextual rumour that Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving has been “burned” in Calgary. That’s when Johnny Gaudreau surprisingly walked to free agency without giving the team a chance to “get something for him” through a trade.
It’s tough to know what Treliving thinks about that experience, but outsiders sure think it matters. As a result, they believe there’s a chance he’d dump Nylander before he can do the same.
Given this backstory combined with the lack of progress on a new contract, it’s natural to wonder what the future of this talented forward might be. From where I stand as I’ve studied this, I don’t expect a Nylander trade anytime soon. Here are four reasons why.
Reason One: Nylander Is Committed to the Blue and White
First and foremost, as he keeps repeating, Nylander is committed to Toronto and the Maple Leafs. With the 2023-24 season looming, Nylander seems to only be worried about having another great season. He’s probably confident that it will be his best season yet.
He’s letting his agent take care of the contract business, while he’s gearing up to hit the ice. For him, as he’s said, Toronto is home. Really, while it might not be the same with some of Nylander’s teammates, does any Maple Leafs fan think that Nylander would be lying. He’s about as straight up as a guy can get.
Given what I know and have seen, it’s not in his make up. His dedication to the team is believeable, and he’s not looking to move anytime soon.
Reason Two: Nylander Had a Standout Season in 2022-23
Last season was a standout one for Nylander. The Swedish forward hit career highs by scoring 40 goals and adding 47 assists. He was a point-a-game player who, season after season, showcases his scoring prowess and playmaking abilities. He’s getting better.
He also shows up during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Last postseason, he registered 10 points in 11 games. Nylander performs in the clutch. And, that doesn’t go unnoticed. His value to the team is undeniable.
Reason Three: Trade Talks Are Mostly Pure Speculation
Sure, there are trade rumours that seem to be swirling around Nylander this summer. But in this work, we call that click bait. Believing click bait is sort of like trusting the National Enquirer. Some hockey writers publish sensational and often unverified stories about players. They are trying to attract readers or find a forum for the news they make up.
I’m not saying it isn’t possible that Nylander could be traded. It just wouldn’t be logical. The accuracy and credibility of writers varies; and, sometimes even good writers get it wrong. At some point, there might have been that offers talked about. But, for example, the rumour that he was moving to the Anaheim Ducks generated a ton of reaction but no action at all. It was mere speculation.
That said, the team likes Nylander’s game and his contributions to their success. He’s also an interesting young man who draws a crowd. So he puts rearends in the seats.
Reason Four: Matthews’ Extension Won’t Rush Nylander
With Auston Matthews signing a four-year extension this past week, might this affect Nylander’s contract negotiations. The truth is, it likely doesn’t impact the speed of the decision. However, it might affect the numbers on the contract.
Nylander remains interested in getting a deal done. He (his agent) is open to negotiations during the season. That said, money is a sticking point; and, there’s a significant gap between what the team is offering and what Nylander’s agent is asking.
The Bottom Line
Nylander’s extension might or might not come soon. In fact, the team might let him play the season unsigned. That might push him to elevate his game even further. He might become an even more complete player.
Nylander’s currently in his prime, and the team is closer to winning a Stanley Cup than its been in a long time. Keeping him in the mix for years to come makes perfect sense.
Expect Nylander to be at training camp. He’ll be business as usual. He could play out his contract. However, he could also re-sign before July 1, 2024. I’m betting the team will keep him around for this season and into the future.
That prediction isn’t that sensational, but it’s he safer bet and carries the most logic.