In case you missed it, yesterday afternoon Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan delivered a not so subtle message to unsigned restricted free agent William Nylander. While speaking to reports about the contentious negotiations between the Leafs and Nylander, Shanahan confirmed that he expects players to take less in order to keep the group together and grow into a championship calibre team. Check out some of these quotes from Shanahan’s interview with Sportsnet earlier today in which he spoke about Nylander and the strained contract negotiations between the player and the team:
“We want players that want to be Maple Leafs and this might not be for everyone…”
“To embrace the city of Toronto, you have to WANT to be a Toronto Maple Leaf and we are lucky that we have a lot of players that seem to embrace that responsibility.”
“We’re working hard toward William… we want William to be a part of this, but obviously this is something that William has to go through.”
“It’s not for everyone and we’re not for everyone, but we feel that with the players we currently have, while it’s not going to be easy, we have great confidence that they have bought into this program and being a part of the Toronto Maple Leafs.”
Translate: get your act together, kid.
If Nylander doesn’t get the message from Shanahan’s words today… well let’s just say he may be sitting out for awhile.
After last night’s 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens, overtime hero Auston Matthews had a few words for reporters as well, in defense of his teammate:
Auston Matthews asked about Brendan Shanahan talking about financial sacrifice required of young players to stay with Leafs in the future: “That’s why we have agents, right? Let them figure it out, talk to management. We’ll stay out of it and just play hockey.”
This is really the first bit of insight that Matthews has given reporters with regards to how he feels about contract negotiations. Of course, Matthews himself could be in Nylander’s spot a calendar year from now, so it’ll be interesting to see whether or not these words come back to haunt him or not.