In a groundbreaking move, the Toronto Maple Leafs committed to star winger William Nylander by signing him to a huge eight-year, $92 million contract extension, as reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on Monday.

The deal will start next season and will pay the exciting Swedish forward an average annual value (AAV) of $11.5 million. In short, it’s the largest contract in the history of the Maple Leafs in terms of total value. The contract comes with a full no-movement clause, giving Nylander a level of stability throughout the contract.

Nylander Could Have Entered Free Agency Next Summer

Nylander, who is now 27 years old, would have entered unrestricted free agency this summer. The narrative was that he made a strategic decision to bet on himself this season. While I’m on record as believing he didn’t do that strategically, if he did it was a move that paid off.

Nylander opened the season with a record-setting 17-game point streak, and he hasn’t slowed down, He has emerged as a force in the NHL, currently ranking among the top 10 in scoring with an impressive 54 points in 37 games.

William Nylander, Maple Leafs

In a post-game interview following Saturday’s victory over the San Jose Sharks, Nylander expressed his hope in the possibility of a long-term stay with the Maple Leafs. “That would be a dream to stay here. I mean, to play for such an organization. And I call Toronto home. So I think that’d be an exceptional feeling.”

Related: Comparing the Maple Leafs Core Four After 35 Games

The Moment Is a Huge Moment in Nylander’s Career

This significant contract extension will become a key moment in Nylander’s career. Given his previous negotiation challenges, from the outside this one seemed easy. His previous contract was a six-year, $45 million deal. However, it was only signed after negotiations dragged on to see him miss the opening two months of the 2018-19 season.

With Nylander and Auston Matthews inked to new contracts, the Maple Leafs have now signed half of their dynamic “Core Four” players for the long term. Attention will turn to negotiations with Mitch Marner and John Tavares. Both of their contracts are up for renewal on July 1.

Welcome to Toronto Long Term, Willie

The Maple Leafs chose Nylander eighth overall in the 2014 NHL Draft and have seen him progress steadily. He had a career-high 87 points (40 goals, 47 assists) last season.

Related: Maple Leafs All-Star Contenders: Matthews, Marner & Nylander

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