William Nylander and the Toronto Maple Leafs have said all summer that a contract extension will get done but with training camp a week away, there is still nothing happening between both camps. Now, fans are starting to worry about the winger's future in Toronto.
Nylander has long indicated he would like a long-term deal with the team that selected him eighth overall in the 2014 NHL Entry draft, however it seems that general manager Kyle Dubas may be seeking a bridge deal for the young winger.
There has now been radio silence on a potential deal for over a month and Nylander hasn't been skating with his teammates at their summer skate. There is now heavy speculation that he won't report to training camp, as pointed out by NHL insider Elliotte Friedman during a Friday morning radio hit on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960, as recounted by Chris Nichols.
"I don’t think Nylander and Toronto are that close right now. I don’t know where it’s going to go, but I wouldn’t be surprised if, for example, Nylander was not in camp when Toronto broke next week. We’ll see. Things can always change, but I heard they weren’t that close. Deadlines spur action, but if guys aren’t signed by now, there’s a reason.”
Nylander has said several times this offseason he is OK with the patient approach of the negotiations, but how patient do you have to be now? Friedman has mentioned in his radio segment that Nylander's agent Lewis Gross, who represents Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames, has "a bit of a backbone there" and could pull off what his client is looking for.
“I’m a big believer in the surest predictor of future behavior is past behavior. If you look at Lewis Gross’ history and the way he’s done things, after his ELC there was a contract battle between Calgary and Gaudreau. It got settled eventually very well. Gaudreau did well, the Flames did well. Gaudreau got a record contract for people who had his leverage. And then if you take a look at where contracts have gone, it worked out really well for the Flames too.”
Gaudreau signed a six-year, $40.5 million contract in October of 2016, which carries a $6.75 million cap hit. Will Nylander get the same deal in Toronto or will he have miss camp to prove a point?