William Nylander, Maple Leafs camps both standing firm in negotiations

Ron MacLean, Nick Kypreos, Elliotte Friedman and Chris Johnston discuss Roberto Luongo's injury and update William Nylander's contract status.

Earlier this week, still-unsigned Toronto Maple Leafs unrestricted free agent William Nylander spoke to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet and tried to explain his side of things in the ongoing negotiations between him and the team.

“I have to take care of myself and do what I and my agent thinks is right,” Nylander said.

These comments came on the heels of team president Brendan Shanahan publicly questioning Nylander’s desire to be a Maple Leaf, leading us to this standstill that both sides have been seemingly in since contract talks first began.

As it turns out, this incredibly expensive staring contest between the two has even more money separating each other than we first thought, with neither side even considering budging.

“Nylander’s certainly holding firm on his demands on a long-term deal,” said Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos during Saturday Headlines. “Many people believe that the answer to this is a bridge deal, but I can tell you that it hasn’t been seriously contemplated at all to the point where they aren’t even discussing anything on a three, four, five-year deal.”


Adding to the conversation, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston explained just how wide the divide is, money-wise, between the Maple Leafs and Nylander.

“We’re still waiting to see what that salary is, and it’s a huge gap that the sides are looking at,” said Johnston. “The Nylander camp started with Leon Draisaitl’s $8.5 million a year salary and I don’t think they’ve gone much below that in the subsequent conversations.

“It sounds like the Leafs are still focused on something in the sixes. You have Nikolaj Ehlers who makes $6 million a year, up to David Pastrnak who’s making $6.67 million, they see him fitting in that range and that leaves, what, a million and a half dollars? Nick, you say the Nylander camp isn’t bending, I don’t see any reason to believe the Leafs will, [either].”

Nylander is obviously the Maple Leafs’ most immediate concern, but the team also has some future contracts to think about with both Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner set to become restricted free agents, like Nylander is now, at the end of this season.

Offering an update on possible extension negotiations between Toronto and those two, Johnston said only one of the two is considering making a deal happen in-season this year.

“There were discussions throughout the summer with both Auston Matthews’ camp [and] Mitch Marner’s camp with their extensions. They could’ve done that July 1, but some of those discussions are off,” Johnston said. “Mitch Marner and his camp have called a moratorium on talks throughout the season. They don’t want to see that distraction.

“I get the sense that Auston Matthews would be willing to work on his extension throughout this season.”

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