Everyone in hockey these days has on opinion on the Willim Nylander situation, it would seem, but one prominent voice in the game has remained strangely mum on everything.
Don Cherry isn’t usually one to weigh in on indivual contract situations, but on Saturday night during his Coach’s Corner segment on Hockey Night in Canada, he broke his silence and decided to make his thoughts known on what Nylander should consider doing as his contract dispute with the Toronto Maple Leafs inches ever closer towards the Dec. 1 playing-eligibility deadline.
The hockey commentator believes Nylander isn’t trying to compare his contract situation with Leafs’ star centres John Tavares or Auston Matthews, but he is doing so with emergent star winger Mitch Marner, whose excellent play this season may have got into his head a bit.
“Here’s the deal, it’s not Tavares and it’s not Matthews he’s thinking of, he’s thinking of Marner,” Cherry said. “What happens if he signs a six-year contract and Marner gets another million or million and more? He’s not worried about the other two guys, but he thinks he’s as good as Marner. …
“What he’s worried about is that he signs a contract and Marner signs [for] a couple more million and he’s stuck with the contract.”
According to Cherry, this is a situation Nylander can’t win and his only solution might be to accept a bridge deal because, for Leafs GM Kyle Dubas, this is his one opportunity in his first major contract negotiation to set a precedent as someone not to be pushed around.
“You’re not going to beat Dubas because for Dubas this is his one shot, he can’t give in on this one.
“So sign a two-year contract, have confidence in yourself and then you go for the big dough.”