The talented Swedish winger has until 5 p.m. ET on Dec. 1 to sign a contract or else the restricted free agent will be deemed ineligible to play during the 2018-19 NHL campaign.
Nylander, a 22-year-old with 135 points in 185 career NHL games, essentially has four options that could play out by Saturday evening: sign a short-term deal, sign a long-term deal, get traded or remain unsigned and sit out a full season.
Regardless of what happens with Nylander in the short term, his long-term future with the team that drafted him eighth overall in the 2014 NHL Draft remains murky.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman shared his opinion on the matter during an appearance on Tim and Sid.
“The one thing I do believe, no matter what happens, is that this will be William Nylander’s final season as a Toronto Maple Leaf,” Friedman said. “Whether he signs or whether he doesn’t sign, this is going to be it. And even if he does sign, I think Toronto trades him by the draft at the latest.
“One way or the other, I think this is over. I would be surprised if he plays for Toronto next season.”
Toronto’s salary cap situation is only going to further complicate matters. While they currently have plenty of space under the cap to navigate, the Maple Leafs have a handful of pending RFAs that will need new deals next summer. Among them are Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, both of whom could potentially garner a more lucrative cap hit than whatever Nylander ends up making.
Friedman made note of that during the first intermission of the Leafs-Sharks game.
What do you think the outcome will be? Let us know in the comments below.