With still a number of restricted free agents around the league opting not to attend training camp, many people find themselves looking at the most prominent of them in Toronto Maple Leafs’ William Nylander, who still hasn’t come to an agreement with Toronto and rumor have the two sides being far apart. The 22-year-old winger, who was the eighth-overall selection back in 2014, has put up two solid 20-goal, 60-point campaigns and could be ready for a breakout season.
Regardless, negotiations seem to be at a standstill. Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas did a Q&A with students from his alma mater, Brock University this morning and had an interesting response when asked when the team was going to sign Nylander.
“As soon as possible,” said Dubas. “If we want to sustain success here we can’t be setting any marketplace records.”
According to Kevin McGran of the Star, Dubas made it clear that the team wasn’t budging on its offer to Nylander, who is rumored to be seeking $8MM per season, while the Maple Leafs are offering around $6.5MM. Dubas also said he isn’t worried if Nylander misses some of training camp. Due to all its salary cap issues over the next several years, Dubas has to make sure not to overpay any one player, considering he still has to sign Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner to extensions as well.
While there is no confirmation of the $8MM salary demand from Nylander, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, in his most recent 31 Thoughts column, writes that he believes that Nylander is asking for Leon Draisaitl money at $8.5MM per season and is likely accurate for several reasons. He writes that agents are always high, but they are using the Draisaitl comparison since Draisaitl posted 129 points in his first two seasons, while Nylander has posted 122. Throw in the fact that Connor McDavid new contract last season pushed Draisaitl’s pricetag up, the same is likely to happen as Nylander will want to be near the salaries that Matthews and Marner will eventually get (not to mention the money that Tavares got this offseason).
Dubas and the Maple Leafs are hoping that Nylander will take a little less money being on a deep, dominant playoff team, something that other players have already done such as Tavares, Nazem Kadri and Morgan Rielly already have.