Contract negotiations between the Toronto Maple Leafs and free agent forward William Nylander are at a total standstill following a week of optimism following two meetings between Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas and Nylander’s agent Lewis Gross. Now the interest around the National Hockey League for Nylander has grown even more in the past few days.
While the Leafs prefer not to trade the young forward but they might have no other choice. And of course, the Carolina Hurricanes remains greatly interested in acquiring the services of the young forward. NHL insider Pierre LeBrun maintains that the Hurricanes are very interested in acquiring Nylander and dug further on Wednesday during an afternoon edition of Leafs Lunch on Toronto’s TSN 1050. LeBrun still believes the Canes might be willing to part with blue liner Brett Pesce, who’s on a long-term deal at a reasonable cap price.
TSN's Leafs Lunch co-host Gord Miller asserted that, “I don’t think you’re getting Pesce from Carolina. I think two guys they won’t touch would be Slavin - Jaccob Slavin - and Brett Pesce.”
This is what LeBrun replied to the whole hypothesis:
“I heard what Gord said there and listen, no doubt the Hurricanes value him very much,” noted LeBrun. “But I will tell you - and it’s why I mentioned his name a couple of weeks ago as well - that if they had a chance at William Nylander, my understanding is they would consider it.”
LeBrun added that after speaking with one rival GM, it is believed that Nylander is worth t$7 million, but we know he might be getting greedy…
“I talked to one GM who said he would pay him $7 million a year,” indicated LeBrun. “I don’t think that this GM would be a player if Nylander was on the trade market, but he was talking just overall NHL economics. He believes Nylander is worth that.
“But you’re right, and actually this is kind of the scary part for the Leafs as time goes on here. It’s not just philosophically, ‘Are we open to trading him or not,’ it’s, ‘If we are open to trading him,’ now you’re sharing your issue with your trade because no team is going to trade for William Nylander without securing him to a contract first. So it’s absolutely fascinating.
“Now, my understanding is Lewis Gross, the agent for Nylander, has had direct communication with teams because he’s allowed to. William Nylander is a free agent. So it’s not as if there haven’t been teams at least doing their due diligence that way.
Nylander and the Maple Leafs have until December 1st to hammer out a contract or he’ll be unable to play in the NHL this season. We can assume that until this contract impasse gets resolved, several teams will try to get in on the sweepstakes and see where their offer stands. The Hurricanes will have to keep a close eye and monitor all the other clubs looking to get into the quest for Nylander.