Toronto Maple Leafs star forward William Nylander is entering the final season of a six-year, $45 million contract he signed back in December of 2018 — and it looks like player and club are far apart on a few contract for the 27-year-old.
With the Leafs already needing to pay Auston Matthews with his contract expiring after next season, there's not a ton of money to go around on new contracts.
Nylander is eligible to sign a new contract as soon as Saturday, Jul. 1. That's the same date his 10-team no-trade list kicks in, according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun.
If the two sides can't close the gap, the Swede will become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2024.
“There’s still some urgency to find a resolution as soon as possible so the Leafs can continue to address other roster decisions. The problem, in my understanding of the situation as of Thursday, is that Nylander's ask so far in contract talks is certainly above what the Leafs can live with in an extension,” wrote LeBrun on Thursday.
“There appears to be a sizeable gap. But my sense is the Leafs will just keep hammering away at it hoping to find a path to an extension.”
If GM Brad Treliving can't get a deal done for the star, the club could explore the trade market for Nylander instead — but it's not quite what the team had hoped, per LeBrun.
“As talented a player as Nylander is, what the Leafs have found out this week is that his trade market isn't nearly as robust as we might have predicted. There's just no cap room out there, and any team trading for Nylander would want him extended,” he wrote.
“If the Leafs do trade Nylander, they also have to have a plan for how they replace his offense. This is still a fluid situation, but it's one that's put the Leafs in a tough spot. They want to sign him — but at a deal that makes sense for them.”
William Nylander would undoubtedly be a huge loss for the Toronto Maple Leafs — he's managed 295 points in 336 games over his current contract, including a career-high 40 goals and 87 points last season and another 10 points in 11 postseason contests.
The Leafs are extremely tight against the cap with so many superstars on the books, and it'll be intriguing to see if the team can get Nylander locked up.