McKenzie dissects Nylander-Leafs contract impasse

William Nylander and the Toronto Maple Leafs may not have found a solution to the restricted free agent’s contract dilemma, but it still doesn’t sound like Kyle Dubas has any desire to trade his way out of the issue.

NHL Insider Bob McKenzie was answering fan questions during a Wednesday night post-game show on NBCSN, and was asked about the possibility of the Leafs dealing their young forward.

“I don’t think the Leafs have any intention of shopping William Nylander, even if this thing gets even nastier than it has been, and they do appear to be at an impasse of sorts where Nylander sees his value so much higher than what the Leafs are prepared to offer” indicated McKenzie. “The Leafs really do value William Nylander as a hockey player. They want him and Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews - and obviously the veteran, John Tavares - to be part of their core.

“It’s not going to be easy to do, to fit all of those pieces together under the salary cap. But I don’t believe for a moment that there’s any intention right now to shop Nylander to try to solve this contract situation.

“And that’s just bad business. Most general managers in the National Hockey League will tell you you do not just trade a guy coming out of entry-level, a restricted free agent who can’t get a contract done, because you’re sending the wrong message to your other young players - that is, ‘If you don’t get the contract you want from the team, then you just hang tight and you ask for a trade or you get traded out.’ That’s not a way to solve your problems. And quite frankly, in spite of the fact Nylander hasn’t been able to get a deal done, I don’t think Nylander wants to leave Toronto either.

“But I think he also has some fears that if he does sign a long-term six or seven-year deal with the Leafs, he maybe is a little bit afraid that when the salary cap pressures start to mount - when they get the Auston Matthews contract done in a year, when they get the Mitch Marner contract - there may come a point sooner rather than later where financially they do have to make a trade. And Nylander feels like, ‘I might be the guy that goes, so I don’t want to want to take too big a ‘hometown discount’ to stay in Toronto, and then find myself shipped out a year or two down the road.’”  

The Leafs have won three of their first four games without Nylander this season.


Contract-related info via CapFriendly