Despite doing their due diligence on the trade front, the Leafs would rather keep William Nylander on their roster than deal him away.
The two sides have not yet been able to reach a compromise on a new contract for the restricted free agent though, so what might be the magic elixir?
“I talked to some agents this week,” relayed Bob McKenzie during a longer Nylander Leafs Lunch discussion Friday on Toronto’s TSN 1050. “And one of the agents said, ‘It seems to me it’s pretty obvious, within 100K or 200K, what the deal should be. It’s a three-year deal: $4 million in the first year,’ to mitigate the amount of money he’s lost, so you want a lower salary in the first year so your missed games… ‘$5 million in the second year, $7 million in the third year.’ The $7 million in the third year guarantees that his QO and his platform for arbitration and everything else is in that universe of $7-plus million.
“That would be a three-year deal, $5.33 million AAV. That is, I can pretty much guarantee you, more - way more - than the Maple Leafs want to pay, and I would suggest that it’s way less than what William Nylander expects to get paid. So it might be the perfect deal, if both sides are really miserable and unhappy with it, that’s where you meet in the middle.
“And I don’t think a 5.33 AAV, depending on how it’s calculated with the rules being what they are, but I don’t think that would cripple the Leafs over the next couple of years here.
“It’s a little bit more - almost half a million more than what Kucherov got two years ago, October. But the cap has gone up since then, and it’s going to continue to go up. So it’s similar to the Kucherov deal, but a little more modern twist to it because two years have gone by.
“And as I say, I think the Leafs would recoil at 5.33 AAV for three years, and I think Nylander would too. Good. They should both be unhappy. They should both be miserable. Get the deal done, and let’s go.”
The Kucherov contract to which McKenzie was referring was the Tampa Bay Lightning winger’s second NHL pact, which is a three-year, $14.3 million contract. The cap hit is $4.767 million, and this is its final season.
Kucherov’s eight-year, $76 million deal will kick in next season, and it carries a cap hit of $9.5 million.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly