It’s already early August and the Leafs have still yet to sign their first of the three big fish.
According to Sportsnet writer Luke Fox, this could be easily explained by William Nylander wanting a long-term—possibly eight-year—contract. Like any negotiation, it may take some time to reach an agreement as we are most likely dealing with a dollar value north of $5 million.
William Nylander says he wants a long-term contract with Maple Leafs as opposed to a bridge deal.— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) August 1, 2018
Nylander was drafted with the eighth overall pick in the 2014 NHL entry draft. Of other top-10 picks from that year, he is fourth in points (135) and seventh in games played (185). In 2017, in a re-draft done on TheSportster, he was ranked fourth overall, a huge jump especially considering that was done over a year ago during his rookie season. Obviously, as you can see by how his stats stack against his fellow draftees, it makes sense why he would be rated so highly.
He has proven to be a very consistent playmaker in 185 games registering 87 assists for 135 points. What is more impressive is in the past two seasons he has played 81 and 82 games respectively putting up 39 and 41 assists in each season for 61 points in both. If he can improve on these totals, he could possibly be a steal at eight years and anything below $7 million dollars. This is especially true if you compare him to fellow 2014 draftee Leon Draisaitl. Last year, Draisaitl signed an eight-year contract worth $8.5 million and over his career has played 269 games for 207 points, and a point-per-game average of 0.77. For comparison, Nylander has a point-per-game average of 0.73.
A good comparable contract for Nylander could be fellow countryman David Pastrnak, who was drafted 25th overall in 2014 as well. Pastrnak has played for Leafs division rival the Boston Bruins, and in 254 games has 203 points for a points-per-game average of 0.8. Last summer, Pastrnak signed a six-year contract worth $6.6 million per season. The first impression of comparing these players is that Nylander would undoubtedly make less money than Pasternak, which makes sense. However, if you take into account the rising cap, $7 million dollars would not be a large stretch for Nylander.
Unsurprisingly, Nylander tends to be overlooked in favor of his teammates, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. He is constantly included in trade rumors, and is seen as the most disposable of the three. If he does in fact get his wish and signs an eight-year deal, it may be a sign of support for Nylander from Leafs management and may force those rumors to finally be put to rest.