Dreger shares latest sense on Nylander, Leafs

William Nylander is still without a contract as the start of the regular season inches closer with each preseason game played.

Darren Dreger appeared on First Up Monday morning on Toronto’s TSN 1050, and shared his latest thoughts on the situation.

“Last week we talked about the thinking that there was at least good dialogue happening between the two sides,” noted Dreger. “I don’t think that it’s turned nasty in any way, shape or form, but I don’t get the sense - unless something changed on the weekend - that there’s as much back and forth going on as we maybe initially thought.

“Again, I think both sides are being as cordial as they can be to one another. But what I mean by that is I don’t think that the Nylander camp has moved much, if at all, from where they maybe dipped from the initial ask.

“If, and this is just speculative here, if William Nylander is still looking for a number that is in the mid-high 7s, well, then this contract stalemate is going to take a lot longer. Because I just don’t see the Toronto Maple Leafs coming anywhere near that given what they’re seeing in camp and the fact that they have to be mindful moving forward of the cap hit that Nylander is going to take and the bite that he’s going to take out of some of the resources they’re going to have to invest in other areas in the very near future.”

Dreger was asked if he felt there was “even a small chance” a sign-and-trade might be consummated “because they would come to the conclusion, or start to get the feeling,” that maybe there isn’t agreement here that they can live with.”

“Well, that’s possible,” allowed Dreger. “I guess the only thing that makes me hesitant to jump on that side of the story is how many teams are lining up to give William Nylander $7-plus million. I mean, he’s a heck of a player. He really is. But is he a $7-plus million player? He’s not for me. Not yet.

“That’s why we’re seeing the bridge deals, right. The bridge deals work for both sides. The player is investing in himself and his belief that he is going to get the money in a couple of years because he’s going to earn it developmentally.

“So I just don’t see that many teams, again, that are just sitting there - they want the talent, they want the skill-set of William Nylander. They don’t want the price tag of six, seven years at $7-plus million, I don’t think.”

Nylander needs another year of pro before he’ll have arbitration rights.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly