With only a few weeks remaining in November, crunch time is nearing for William Nylander and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Bob McKenzie shared his latest sense of what’s going on between the team and the restricted free agent during a Tuesday evening TV hit on TSN.
“Well, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ priority remains the same, and that is to try and sign William Nylander to a contract,” began McKenzie. “Either a short-term bridge deal or a long-term deal. But with the December 1 deadline for ‘If you’re not signed, you’re not in the National Hockey League for the rest of the season’ starting to loom large, the Leafs would be crazy not to be doing their due diligence and talking to other teams about trades.
“So that is what’s happening right now. There is some talk going back and forth, but I think it’s still in the early stages in terms of what you would call horse trading involving William Nylander.
“It gets complicated, and here’s why. We said all along that a team like the Carolina Hurricanes were interested, and they are - but for the right price. So our sense of it is that Brett Pesce would be available to the Toronto Maple Leafs, but Jaccob Slavin wouldn’t be. And I do expect that the Carolina Hurricanes and the Toronto Maple Leafs will continue to have dialogue over the course of the week.
“But they’re by no means the only team that’s interested. There are lots of teams interested, as you would expect, in William Nylander. But here’s where it gets difficult. The Los Angeles Kings would love to have William Nylander. The problem is they don’t really have a fit for a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the money that William Nylander is going to command might be too much for L.A..
“The Anaheim Ducks, they’ve got young defensemen that the Leafs would love to get, but the money would pose a problem for the Anaheim Ducks.
“The Minnesota Wild have had multiple conversations over the last number of weeks about William Nylander with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the cap issues could be a problem for them. And right now they’re going so well they don’t want to give up any of the defensemen that the Toronto Maple Leafs would want.
“New York Rangers have no cap issues. They’d love to have William Nylander, but they don’t have a fit either.
“So you can see where this is going. Some of the teams want the player but don’t have the right fit. Some of the teams want the player, but don’t have the cap space or the ability to do any better than what the Toronto Maple Leafs would offer on a contract.
“So it gets real complicated on that front. Leafs will continue to do two tracks: Negotiate and try to get a deal done over here, talk trade with everybody so they know exactly where they’re at if they get to November 30 and have to pull the trigger one way or the other.”
Nylander is a restricted free agent coming out of his entry-level contract, and must have a deal in place by the December 1 RFA deadline in order to play in the NHL this season.
During a hit on TSN’s Insider Trading later that evening, McKenzie also mentioned that “Florida is a team that will probably kick tires to see if there’s any interest” on the Nylander front.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly