At this point in the offseason, less than a month before the start of free agency, we would like to provide all Toronto Maple Leafs fans out there with good and comforting news. However, what Maple Leafs insider James Mirtle of The Athletic is reporting about forward William Nylander is not what we would call good or comforting...
The start of Mirtle's article on The Athletic almost says it all: "The only news on the William Nylander contract negotiations at this point is that there is no news."
Alright. There is a saying that claims that no news is in fact good news. However, with less than a month before the Maple Leafs could lose Nylander for nothing, we bet more news are wanted from the fanbase in Toronto.
Maple Leafs new general manager Kyle Dubas and William Nylander’s agent Lewis Gross aren’t saying much about the pending restricted free agent. As of a few days ago, Mirtle found out that there have been no contract negotiations, but they are expected to get underway very soon.
“When there’s movement about that, it’ll be released from the PR department,” Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said late last week.
“I really can’t say very much at this point,” Gross said when reached by phone.
If we focus on the fact that negotiations could be done quickly to keep the top forward in Toronto for the long term, Mirtle has provided some interesting comparables for a potential new deal.
Comparables on a long-term deal are Boston Bruins' David Pastrnak (six years at $6.67 million cap hit), Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau (six years at $6.75 million cap hit) and Chicago Blackhawks' Brandon Saad (six years at $6 million per). It is also important to say that Nylander has the same agent as Saad and Gaudreau.
Other comparables include St. Louis Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko , Edmonton Oilers' Leon Draisaitl and Winnipeg Jets' Nikolai Ehlers. They can surely find an agreement with the many options out there.
It remains that both camps might only agree on a bridge deal, which could look similar to the one offered to Tampa Bay Lighting forward Nikita Kucherov (three years at $4.766 million per). However Mirtle believes both sides should agree on a long-term deal.
Let's not forget the Leafs will have two other very important RFAs to re-sign next summer in Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner...