As December 1 draws closer, the tension begins to rise in the standoff between William Nylander and the Leafs.
During a Friday morning radio hit on Toronto’s Sportsnet 590, Elliotte Friedman was asked about the perspective of the unsigned restricted free agent’s camp at this point of November, with this potential notion:
“You have gone this far, you might as well take this until the end of the month because then the onus goes to the GM - ‘Hey, why didn’t you get this guy signed.’”
“Yeah, I think there’s probably some truth to that,” agreed Friedman. “I mean, there’s no question that Dubas has got to be frustrated, and I’m sure that Nylander is frustrated. I think the thing that probably bothers him the most is that he had a vision for the four of these guys playing together, and trying to achieve success together, and I think we’re all looking at this now and saying it probably isn’t going to happen.
“I think one of the things that happens here is people kind of throw around the labels, ‘Who’s got more pressure on them.’ I can assure you that everybody involved here is feeling a lot of pressure because Nylander is sitting this out for a goal and Dubas is holding firm for a goal, and there is going to be a chance that nobody here achieves their goals. I think it’s very possible.
“And you know what? If Nylander goes somewhere else and Toronto wins, he’s going to look back and say, ‘I could have been part of that.’ And if Toronto trades him and he goes somewhere else and he lights it up somewhere else and that team wins better than Toronto, Toronto is going to look and say, ‘That guy was ours.’
“I’m sure they’re both sitting there right now and there’s probably a mix of anger, frustration, regret - there’s a lot of different things. But I think the only honest way to look at it right now is whatever the plans were two months ago, they’re all awry, and that it looks more likely now he’s getting traded than he’s signing.”
Nylander is coming out of his entry-level contract, and needs to have a contract in place by the December 1 RFA deadline in order to play in the NHL this season.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly