Leafs fans are waiting for it and Leafs players want it over with as well.
William Nylander’s contract.
Drafted by Toronto 8th overall in 2014, the now 22-year old is only one of two remaining restricted free agents (the other being Anaheim’s Nick Ritchie) not signed to a contract yet. As the time for the season-opener clocks down, Leafs fans are left worried.
Kyle Dubas, General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, joined Sportsnet’s Prime Time Sports Tuesday evening, discussing William Nylander’s contract situation, upcoming roster decisions ahead of October 3rd, and much more.
“Their camp has been focused on a long-term deal and ours as well. I think a bridge (deal) for both of us would be the sub-optimal solution to this,” Dubas said when asked for updates regarding Nylander’s contract situation. “We continue to work primarily on long-term deals with Lewis (Gross).”
Teammates are respecting the process and giving Nylander his own space, not wanting to interrupt negotiations between the Leafs camp and agent Lewis Gross.
"I kind of leave him alone," said Auston Matthews. "I think he’s obviously focused on making sure he’s in good shape so when that gets done that he can come here (and play well) – obviously he’s a big part of this team. I’ve talked to him a little bit over the last couple weeks, but I don’t want to really keep peppering him and bothering him because he probably knows as much as you do. He’s letting his agents and management here handle all that stuff, and when he signs he signs."
It is well aware that Nylander’s previous cap hit of $894,167 deserves a significant raise. The question is just how much of an increase that should be. According to reports, the Toronto Maple Leafs want a long-term deal worth around $6 million per year. Nylander’s camp has that number near $8 million.
Nylander scored 20 goals and added 41 assists for a total of 61 points during 82 games last season. He has a career high of 61 points. Over a total of 185 NHL games played, Nyander has scored 48 goals (0.26 goals per game) and has totalled 135 points (0.73 points per game). He has a shooting percentage of 11.1%.
As with most contract negotiations, comparable players are looked at in order to establish a player’s value. Here are some comparable contract situations for Nylander in recent years:
Nikolaj Ehlers (0.66 points per game) -- 7 years, $6.0M AVG
David Pastrnak (0.72 points per game) -- 6 years, $6.67M AVG
Filip Forsberg (0.73 points per game) -- 6 years, $6.0M AVG
* Points per game statistics are from prior to signing the contract*
A reasonable contract for Nylander would be around 6 years worth $6.25M each.
Restricted free agents must sign NHL contracts by December 1, or they are not eligible to play in the NHL for the remainder of the season.