LeBrun: Rival NHL exec at fair price for Maple Leafs and William Nylander’s contract extension
What better time to catch up on William Nylander’s contract situation after No. 88 finished off a trip to his native Sweden in stunning fashion on Sunday?
Some players bear the weight of their unrestricted free agent contract year and allow it to affect their performance. Nylander is clearly not one of those players. He’s absolutely on fire, and plays like he’s completely unaffected by what’s going on this season.
As I talked about TSN’s insider trade on Thursday, it’s been very quiet on the Nylander contract front, and that’s by design. Both sides in those negotiations have a desire to keep things under wraps and have mutually agreed to do so, which they have done so far.
But Leafs fans shouldn’t confuse that silence as a red flag. When it comes to the talks themselves, nothing has been derailed. My understanding is that the dialogue is continuing and that both sides remain committed to reaching a solution between now and July 1.
If either side gets frustrated, you might see more leaks and messaging, but that’s not happening so far.
It’s clearly a difficult contract to enforce, though, for all the obvious reasons, as the 27-year-old Nylander continues to play spectacularly — one point off the league’s scoring lead, at 27 as of Sunday — which boosts his salary, and no… The Leafs still have a salary cap to move around.
Many rival front offices are curious to see where this extension goes, if the Leafs can actually get it done, in part because Toronto already has Auston Matthews at $13.25 million per year starting next season, plus another season for each in 2024. In 25th place were John Tavares with $11 million and Mitch Marner with $10.9 million. Toronto clearly needs to plan on extending Marner as well before the 2025-26 season.
So I reached out to team executives in competing front offices across the NHL and asked them a simple question: What do you feel a fair extension of Nylander’s contract would be?
Here are their answers, via text message, anonymously of course, as they cannot publicly comment on contract negotiations for players from other organizations:
Note: Some answers are lightly edited for clarity and length.
Executive Team No. 1
“This situation is very similar to what happened in Boston with (David) Pastrnak. Pastrnak signed in March (eight years, $11.25 million) in a season in which he finished with 61 goals and 113 points. To me, a fair number would be eight years north of $11 million. I know Matthews is getting $13.25 million, but only for four years. If Nylander goes for eight years at $11.5 million, that means $92 million guaranteed, as he would have to get more than $13 million from the outside on a 7-year deal to match That money, which is hard to do.
Executive Team No. 2
“I don’t see how it’s less than $11 million, given the increased cap and the season he’s having… unless he wants to take a discount to go to the destination of his choice. On a seven- to eight-year deal.”
Executive Team No. 3
“I think it’s somewhere between $10.5 million and $11 million, depending on the term.”
Executive Team No. 4
“Tough question, Pierre. What’s fair and what’s going to happen are two different things (smiley face emoji). He’ll be 28 years old, has never reached 90 points (although it certainly looks like he will this season) and hasn’t made it past the second round of the playoffs.” , and he only got there once. But our system pays based on points — rightly or wrongly — and he would have a strong case. Does it help Toronto get more than Matthew Tkachuk’s $9.5 million? Probably not. But the limit is “The cap is going up and Toronto is paying a tax bonus. $10 million (average annual value), full term. He might get more but justice is arbitrary.”
Executive Team No. 5
“I start by asking what he’d get as a UFA on the open market. I doubt anyone would go for $11 million for him, but I think he’d get $10 million. So, if he wants to stay in Toronto, a little bit of a hometown discount might Up to $9 or $9.5 million.
Executive Team No. 6
“Depends on his mentality. Aho (eight years, $9.75 million) is an easy comparison and could be considered fair. But with the food chain in Toronto, it shouldn’t be too far off from what Marner will get next. That works out to $10.5 to $11.5 million.” “He would have leverage if he wanted to, but if he wanted to keep the core together with 34 and 16, he shouldn’t have much more leverage than Aho, who is actually at the top of their food chain. But Aho agreed to a bigger organizational picture and didn’t have 34 and 16 and 91.” They make more than him. (Nylander) is having the right season and a half at the right time. He can take advantage of free agency. Depends if he wants to. If he re-signs, I could see 10.5 to 11.5 million.
Executive Team No. 7
“Nylander is a unique player and you can have a lot of different opinions about him. … As talented as he is, some teams won’t make him ‘the guy’ on their team. A lot of teams see him as the shiny sports car that you show off when you’re Your wallet is in good shape. However, players who produce like him are getting paid. It only takes one team so I can see a team climbing into the $10 million range, but it probably won’t be a competitive team. I’m not sure how many teams would look to Making that commitment right now until the cap goes up significantly I’m not sure how Toronto will be able to make him able to move forward and continue to address their gaps, but I always had a feeling he would remain a leaf.
Executive Team No. 8
“Somewhere between Gaudreau (seven years, $9.75 million) and Huberdeau (eight years, $10.5 million), I think. It has to be south of Pastrnak, right?
Executive Team No. 9
“I think a fair amount is between $10.5 million and $10.75 million.”
Executive Team No. 10
“I think it’s because of his age… Eight years, $8.5 million to $9 million, if I’m the Leafs. They can’t waste Matthews’ prime, so they need him. … How many prime years are you going to get from Nylander? Three? So is “You get fair value over the last three years or so? If he wants a term, they need to keep the number under control.”
Executive Team No. 11
“Game breaker. Probably count on one hand the number of players who are as dynamic as him. Can change the game in an instant. At a good age. Not every team has the room but there are 32 teams. Someone will push it. Below Pastrnak but only. If he wants It will start with the number 10.
Executive Team No. 12
“Eight years, $11.5 million is fair. Touch more than Pastrnak. If you look at the internal structure, he should offer more than Marner and Tavares. But it will take eight years, 12 or $12.25 million I think.”
What’s amazing about this exercise is that you have a lot of smart people in the front office here with different viewpoints, ranging from a low of $9 million in one case to $12.25 million in the other. What’s also interesting is that everyone who answered assumed it would be a long-term deal if he re-signed in Toronto, and I’m not sure anyone should assume that 100 percent. Neither side raised their hand. After all, Matthews has not signed a long-term deal.
Having said that, the carrot the Leafs have is total dollars over eight years versus going to market and getting a maximum of seven years, as the No. 1 executive team indicated. Keep in mind that Tkachuk got around that by signing and trading his way Out of Calgary to the Florida Panthers for his maximum eight-year deal. So there is always that possibility.
But let’s go back to what we know: Nylander has expressed his desire to stay in Toronto. For this reason, I see this eventually being done with Toronto. I can’t see a long-term deal that doesn’t have a double-digit AAV. Nylander has gone to another level in his game at exactly the perfect time in his career.
If he also wants to win a championship in Toronto, finding a number that fits with the Leafs on some level will also be important.
(Photo: Nick Torchiaro/USA Today)
(tags for translation) Toronto Maple Leafs