There are whispers in Toronto surrounding forward William Nylander. While some fans are chalking up recent comments by Nick Kypreos — who has a tendency to talk about players on the roster leaving town in trades or other moves — it’s not just Kypreos who is now suggesting Nylander is going to be too expensive for the Toronto Maple Leafs to hang onto with the season he’s having.
Now, Jonas Siegel writes in a recent article for The Athletic that Nylander posting career numbers mean the Maple Leafs may not be able to afford to retain the forward and that he’ll potentially price himself out of Toronto with his next contract. All it will take, apparently, is for Nylander to keep playing well this season and have a strong playoff. If that happens, he expects Nylander will use the leverage he has to force the hand of his current team.
Siegel writes that Nylander’s next deal could fall in the range of J.T. Miller, Jonathan Huberdeau, Johnny Gaudreau, and Filip Forsberg. He adds:
Come next summer, the Leafs will be in the position of having to decide whether they want to commit to Nylander on a big-time extension, or, play out the 2023-24 season and make a decision when Nylander is set to enter the UFA market for the first time. Leafs’ brass might also determine by next summer that Nylander’s price tag is too exorbitant and at least contemplate moving him before he’s lost, potentially, for nothing. (Dubas has long been a believer in Nylander. A different GM might not be.)
Nylander Has Already Proven He’s Willing to Stand Up For His Contract Value
If Nylander were to force Toronto to make a decision, it wouldn’t be the first time. In past negotiations, Nylander has chosen to sit out in an effort to get what he wants. Siegel argues that Nylander would likely do so again, only this time, he wouldn’t have to. As a pending UFA, should he simply choose to play out his current contract, he could test the free-agent market.
As mentioned, Kypreos is all over the idea that Nylander might be on his way out of Toronto. He suggested the forward would be a challenge to sign as well in a recent article for the Toronto Star. Kypreos notes that Nylander is eligible for a contract extension on July 1 and he’s on pace for career-best numbers. He writes, “So the question needs to be asked: Why has there been little to no mention of a Nylander contract extension that, timing-wise at least, mirrors [Auston] Matthews?”
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