With big names coming off the free agent board, William Nylander is still without a contract in Toronto and has been left the Maple Leafs training camp roster.
As Nylander's agent works on negotiating a new deal with the team, the Leaf's training camp roster was revealed and Nylander's name was nowhere to be found. This isn't terribly surprising considering a new deal has not been worked out, but as the season approaches, it becomes more and more apparent the two sides could be farther apart on a new deal than people think. Eventually, the situation could become a concern for the organization. If Nylander misses any significant time due his contract status, it possibly sets back the chemistry important for Nylander and his linemates and it shows the franchise may have trouble locking down their nucleus of star players.
Head coach Mike Babcock and GM Kyle Dubas both downplayed the situation by indicating that Nylander is not the only player in the NHL currently going through this situation but unlike most teams, the Leafs have heavy lifting to do when it comes to getting their core of young players under contract. Nylander is the first of the big three — himself, Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews — and too high a contract forces the Maple Leafs to potentially spend more than their salary cap will afford. Nylander's deal will set the tone for the ability of the team to get their stars to accept team-friendly deals.
The Maple Leafs didn't say when fans can expect Nylander on the ice but it has been speculated the forward is looking for a deal around or north of $8 million per season on a long-term commitment. The Maple Leafs meanwhile, according to Darren Dreger of TSN, is looking at other comparables that sit somewhere in the $6-7 million range.
There will be plenty of eyes watching this situation as it unfolds. Of the many restricted free agents still on the market, Nylander may be the most significant.