However, despite that, the impending free agent has yet to receive any contract extension offer from the Leafs.
“At this point there are no real serious negotiations on that front,” Johnston said during Saturday’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada, adding that the same goes for fellow Toronto UFAs Tyler Bozak and Leo Komarov.
Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos says the reason there have been no talks between the Leafs and van Riemsdyk is because the 28-year-old isn’t interested in giving the club a “hometown discount.”
“He knows what the market is for goal scorers,” Kypreos said. “He knows what the price is out there for a guy like Max Pacioretty. He’s going to be in a position to say, ‘If you want me to bring the [average annual value of a deal] down, you’re going to have to go deep in term.’
“I don’t think the Leafs are prepared to do what Washington did for T.J. Oshie, who had to go eight years. I think it’s inevitable that the Leafs may just be looking at renting their own player.”
Van Riemsdyk, who has been in Toronto for the past six seasons, has 21 goals and 33 points in 55 games this season entering Saturday’s home game against the Ottawa Senators.
The NHL trade deadline is Feb. 26.