With minutes to go before the 5 p.m. ET signing deadline, the William Nylander contract drama came to an end.
Nylander and the Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed on a six-year pact worth $41.4M. According to the team, because he’s signing two months into the season his salary cap hit for 2018-19 will be $10.2M. Here’s a full breakdown:
Come July 2, 2019, Nylander becomes a pretty attractive trade piece to other teams who want to take advantage of a potentially cap-strapped Maple Leafs team.
The deal also includes a 10-team no-trade cause in the final year, per McKenzie. He was ineligible for one in the first five years of the contract.
Had Nylander not signed by Saturday’s deadline he would have been ineligible play in the NHL for the rest of the season and the Maple Leafs would have retained the restricted free agent’s rights.
“We think Willie is going to be here and we think Willie is going to be here for a long time,” said Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock this week. “We think he is going to be a career Leaf. That’s what we think. That’s what we believe.”
In 185 games with the Maple Leafs, Nylander has scored 48 goals and recorded 135 points. He’ll be a nice addition to the NHL’s fourth-highest scoring team (93 goals) as they continue to eye a Stanley Cup run this spring.
Reports had the negotiations falling somewhere between a bridge deal for about three years and a longer-term extension of six, which they settled on. Nylander had been skating with European teams while both sides tried working on a deal.
That’s now one contract down and a few more big ones to go for general manager Kyle Dubas. Next summer Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Kasperi Kapanen are the team’s big name RFAs who need new deals, and Jake Gardiner will be unrestricted. It will be interesting to see if any of them are tough negotiations like Nylander was and how that affects the team’s summer plans.