As the contract impasse with William Nylander goes on, the Toronto Maple Leafs are pushing for the best trade offers that might be out there.
William Nylander posted 61 points for the Toronto Maple Leafs in each of the last two seasons, but he’s a restricted free agent, has yet to sign a contract and he looks like the odd-man out as the team lines up long-term deals. Trade rumors have ramped up a little more recently, with Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic recently reporting a third of the league has contacted the Maple Leafs with at least a passing interest in Nylander.
Nylander and the Maple Leafs have a Dec. 1 deadline to agree to a deal, or he won’t be able to play this season. A trade to another team would surely come with agreement on a contract for this season, but Toronto could still trade Nylander’s rights before the trade deadline to a team that would be fine with not having him until next season.
Multiple teams may be ready to make an offer for Nylander. With that deadline coming in less than two weeks, the Maple Leafs have let it out there that there’s no time like the present for a nice trade offer.
According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, via Hockey Night In Canada on Saturday, the Maple Leafs don’t feel like the Nylander situation absolutely has to be resolved by Dec. 1.
Even with it so close now, the Toronto Maple Leafs don’t feel there has to be a resolution to this by Dec. 1,” Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston said during Hockey Night in Canada’s Headlines segment on Saturday.
“If there isn’t a trade that presents itself, and we spoke last week about the fact that they are gauging the market on William Nylander, and William Nylander’s demands don’t come in to the range they’re comfortable paying, they’re comfortable letting this player sit.
Not unlike what we just saw in the NFL with Le’Veon Bell, the Maple Leafs are trying to place blame on Nylander for a decision to simply not play as a contract deadline approaches. Being “comfortable letting this player sit” comes off as a trivial detail meant to push that narrative, and subsequently tell a passionate fan base “well, we tried with Nylander, couldn’t trade him and he just doesn’t want to play.”
But it’s also an astute move by the Maple Leafs and general manager Kyle Dubas. If they’re indeed comfortable squatting on Nylander past the first of the month, teams that want him able to contribute this season will have to come with their best trade offers.