In the latest update on the contract negotiations between the Toronto Maple Leafs and forward William Nylander, Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic shed light on the ongoing discussions between the two sides. Saying both have made a deal to keep discussions on the downlow and out of the public media sphere, both parties are still talking and want to have something worked out before July 1, 2024.
Despite the lack of public updates, Leafs fans are reassured that the silence doesn’t signal any issues in the talks.
In an attempt to figure out where the numbers might be at on a new deal, LeBrun reached out to several NHL executives for their insights. He revealed that while progress is being made, a deal is not imminent. That could be because, of the many execs he talked to, the fair value of an extension with Nylander was all over the map.
The suggested fair market value for Nylander’s contract saw estimates ranging from a minimum of $9 million Average Annual Value (AAV) to a maximum of $12.25 million AAV. The majority of these projections assumed a maximum-term agreement of eight years. Drawing parallels with the situation of Boston’s David Pastrnak, one executive argued that given Nylander’s game-changing abilities, a fair number would be an eight-year deal north of $11 million AAV.
Others factored in Nylander’s desire to stay in Toronto, or comparing his contract to Auston Matthews’ in terms of importance to the overall team salary cap structure. Most believed the Leafs can’t afford to lose him, and it could take $11 million to keep him around.
Nylander, who has expressed a desire to continue his career in Toronto, has elevated his game to new heights at a crucial point in his career. LeBrun predicts that a max-term deal for Nylander is likely to come with a double-digit AAV, a number that has dramatically gone up because of Nylander’s outstanding performance this season.
Nylander’s Deal Keeps Getting More Expensive by the Game
While Nylander’s commitment to Toronto is evident, the challenge lies in finding a number that aligns with the Leafs’ financial constraints and rewards him for playing so well. If they aim to build a championship-caliber team, they’ll have to keep his numbers reasonable, but teams will line up and a bidding war will take place if he makes it to market.
The negotiation process is a delicate balance between securing a favorable deal for Nylander and ensuring the Leafs can maintain a competitive roster.
Nylander contract negotiations are progressing deliberately, with both sides maintaining a low profile. The Leafs are optimistic about reaching an agreement that serves the interests of both the player and the team, but as every game passes, his value rises. Dragging this out much longer could make signing him far more expensive than the Leafs ever envisioned.
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