Don't look now but for the first time since the negotiations began in earnest between the Toronto Maple Leafs and young forward William Nylander it's starting to sound a lot like the talented Maple Leaf may seriously be considering a contact overseas.
Earlier today we reported on news coming out of the Kontinental Hockey League that suggested one of it's organizations was expressing serious interest in Nylander, interest that obviously stems from the fact that they know full well the Leafs and Nylander are nowhere near signing for a new deal. From earlier today:
There is one organization in particular that has expressed strong interest in Nylander and that is KHL club Salavat Yulaev based in Ufa. Johnston has not disclosed what kind of money has been put on the table by Slavat Yulagev at this time but, when you consider the fact that singing a KHL contract would effectively lock him out of this current NHL season, I would have to imagine that it is pretty huge money to even get Nylander to consider it. Make no mistake about though it does seem like Nylander is in fact considering the offer and there may even be interest on his part to really stick to it the Leafs for hard balling him during these current negotiations.
Now that of course could mean very serious trouble for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Signing a contract in the KHL would effectively lock him out of possibility competing for the Maple Leafs for the remainder of the 2018 - 2019 NHL regular season and that's assuming that the new contract would only be a one year deal. In reality the Leafs would lose Nylander to the KHL for absolutely nothing and the team in the KHL that signs him could secure him for the long term assuming he's open to that type of deal.
Interestingly though it now appears there may be another KHL team in the mix, the undefeated Avengard. Avengard not only currently owns the rights for Nylander in the KHL but they also have a former NHL head coach behind the bench, I'm speaking of course of veteran NHL coach Bob Hartley. Hartley is highly respected by players around the league and is largely considered a players coach, could his presence serve to entice Nylander to come to Russia?
Well interestingly enough there also seems to be a previous relationship between the two men, or at least between Hartley and Nylander's father.
"I would like to see William in my team," said Hartley. "I know his father. That would be great"