We addressed this ludicrous situation about three days ago. I say ludicrous for the fact that it has continued on this long and is nearing the final minutes until the deadline. The Leafs and Nylander have been reported to be close in a deal. If you monitor Twitter like I do, you’ll find Bob McKenzie throwing his expert opinion on the matter.
Here’s my thoughts
Clear indication, if you read the thread that Nylander and the Leafs are still a little ways from agreeing on something. My thoughts on this situation and how it will shape up and why it happened like this is this. Listen now, William Nylander and his team are not stupid, they know Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner are due for CONTRACTS (emphasis on contracts because they will get PAID).
Both Marner and Matthews are RFA’s come July 2019. Marner is at the end of his rookie contract making $894,000, not to mention Marner has tallied 36 points in 26 games (3rd in the NHL) coming off a 69 point year in 2017-18. Matthews is earning $925,000 a two time 30+ goal scorer in his 2.5 years in the NHL and a high of 69 points his rookie year. Matthews now has 19 points in 12 games this season. Therefore it is obvious Nylander knows he is going to get less if he ended up signing right away, he knows that Matthews and Marner are going to eat up a decent amount of the Leafs cap space and he may not earn what he wants. Nylander also knows he is going to be competing with the other 11 contracts in Toronto. The Leafs have to sign five RFA forwards, two UFA forwards, three UFA defenseman and one RFA defenseman come July 2019. He wants a longer term deal for more security which is totally fine but the Leafs want more of a bridge deal because although Nylander is a top-six winger on the Leafs the team is doing just fine with out him therefore showing that a bridge deal for 2-3 years may leave Nylander in the same spot come 2022.
Now, Nylander has every right to squeeze as much as he can out of the Leafs he deserves the money and he deserves to have some security, is he worth 7+ million a year probably not, but he has every right to hold out until they at least give him a respectable deal plus some security to come back. Just as the Leafs have every right to hold out and not budge, but this seems to be more of a misguided Nylander. You do have to think the Leafs are winning without me, they won without Matthews, they have one of the best teams in the NHL, a cup contender, I’ll make 5-5.5 million a year and be in of the greatest cities in the world for hockey and play alongside great line mates for the next 4-5 years. At some point I am thinking that Nylander is being misguided and not doing much talking and speaking up when it comes to this contract situation.
What I see happens…
I honestly don’t think Nylander signs, he ends up getting moved to a contending team, becomes the “guy” wherever he goes, the Leafs get a defenseman in return and both parties are happy. But my gut also tells me that Nylander says eff it, let’s do this I’ll sign the contract. Which if he does end up doing that all this waiting it out and conflict will make Nylander look kind of stupid and in which he wasted 26 games already.