LeBrun: Hurricanes checked in with Leafs on Nylander

In all likelihood, restricted free agent William Nylander will sign a deal sooner rather than later with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

But there are teams doing their due diligence behind the scenes, just in case the contract impasse can’t be bridged.

Pierre LeBrun guest co-hosted Friday on Leafs Lunch on Toronto’s TSN 1050, and at one point the subject of offer sheets were brought up.  

It was at that point that the Insider mentioned a specific team with interest in acquiring the talented young forward.

“There’s a lot of reasons why it hardly happens,” said LeBrun in terms of offer sheets in the NHL. “No. 1, the teams that would really want William Nylander right now, most of them, are the teams that also can’t spare first and second-round picks because they’re bubble teams.

“For example, I can tell you that I know the Carolina Hurricanes are among the teams that have phoned of late to check in on William Nylander with the Leafs. Just in case. As they should, by the way. ‘Are you trading him?’ They were told no.

“But they’re not going to offer-sheet him because who’s to say where Carolina is going to finish in the standings this year. Are you going to give away a first, a second, and a third if you sign him for $8.1 million or less?

“So the teams that probably need William Nylander the most are the teams that can ill-afford to afford the compensation draft picks-wise. So that’s one of the reasons you don’t see a lot of offer sheets.

“But the other one, and I mentioned this on Insider Trading, the Leafs for this season have a ton of cap space, so they’re going to match almost anything that they’re going to throw at William Nylander and then figure out the rest later.

“It’s next summer, going back to what Dregs was up to yesterday, it’s next summer that I know some teams are going to keep a real close eye on the Leafs. Because that’s when you pounce on a team, is when there’s no cap room.

Nylander is coming out of his entry-level contract.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly