The contract dispute between the Maple Leafs and free agent forward William Nylander is still taking a lot of room in Toronto despite the clock keeps ticking quicker and quicker. The Dec. 1st deadline is around the corner and while several people are commenting on what Nylander or the Leafs should do to get a final agreement on a contract extension, we are still waiting for it.
On Tuesday however, Nylander got some significant support from a guy that has been compared to Nylander several times when it comes to price tag. In Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov is currently in the final year of his three-year bridge contract and he remains one of the NHL's best bargains with an average annual value of $4,766,667.
It was the doing of then-general manager Steve Yzerman who managed to signed the free agent on the eve of the season opener after Kucherov posted a 65-point and 66-point seasons in his sophomore and third year in the NHL.
You can see why the two players are often compared as Nylander awaits, remaining unsigned with the club after back-to-back 61-point seasons. And now, Kucherov is giving the kid all of his support. Speaking with Joe Smith of The Athletic, Kucherov is aware of what Nylander is going through and supports his decision to hold out.
“I would have done the same thing,” Kucherov told Smith. "Everybody has their opinion on him, but as soon as he gets to play, he’s going to prove to everyone — they’ll just be talking about hockey. If he thinks he’s right. Good for him."
A lot of speculations have been made on what Nylander is looking to cash in and what the Maple Leafs can afford, knowing too well they will need to have some money left to re-sign young stars Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner in the summer of 2019.
This past summer, Kucherov inked an eight-year, $76,000,000 extension. Maybe Nylander should accept a bridge deal and work things out like Kucherov has now in the end... However the Russian star knows everyone is fighting to be paid what they are worth in the NHL.
"You go around the league and look at the contracts. It’s not just for him. He’s an unbelievable player. I’m sure he’s going to get paid a lot.”
On top of all the number crunching and negotiations, Nylander's camp and the Maple Leafs also have to deal with all the trade rumors surrounding the young forward. We have to be patient, because as of now, the clock is simply ticking - for everyone involved.
Source: The Athletic
Photo Credit: Zuma Press