While the Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander work at a new deal, — or as reports suggest, fail to work out a new deal — opposing teams are calling the Leafs to inquire about the player's status.
Nylander is a restricted free agent who hasn't reported to camp for the Maple Leafs yet because he and the team can't come to terms on an extension that would keep him with the organization and part of the young core of forwards the team is trying to build around. Nylander reportedly wants $7 million per season or more and the Maple Leafs view him as a $6 million player. The latest reports are that neither side has really spoken and the situation has become somewhat of a stand-off between the two parties.
In the meantime, the rest of the NHL world is watching as the Maple Leafs try to navigate a tricky salary cap situation after signing big-ticket free agent John Tavares this summer. Bring in Tavares meant the rest of the core — Nylander, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner — might be willing to take a bit of a discount to stay in such a competitive environment. That Nylander is the first up and also the first who appears unwilling to take a salary dip, things have gotten interesting.
General manager for the Leafs, Kyle Dubas, was on Prime Time Sports on Tuesday evening and said that bridge deal is possible if things don't progress but that a short-term contract extension was sub-optimal for the team. They want a longer-term deal. He is still confident that a deal can and will get done.
When asked about the possibility of Nylander being traded, Dubas responded, "I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t accepting calls from teams." However, after making that comment, he was quick to add, "but I can say absolutely that we are not shopping him." Dubas described the conversations he's having with other GM's as more of a 'how it is going over there? Let us know if things are not going to work out.'
From Dubas' point of view, he's not thinking the situation will ever get that far but the longer Nylander sits and as December 1, 2018, comes into view (the final day he can sign before being ineligible for the season), a trade may be more of an option for both sides.