It’s mid-August, and the Toronto Maple Leafs still have yet to re-sign their star young RFA, William Nylander. I’m starting to think I should just re-sign myself to waiting until September before anything happens.
In the meantime, let’s have some fun and theorize what the hold up’s been.
Theory #1: Willy’s gathering his strength.
We all know that Nylander is a descendant of the ancient hero Samson, whose strength was tied to the length of his hair. After playing his first 3 (well... 2.5 really) seasons in the Loubar era, he was forced to keep his epic flow under wraps. William has said he wants a long term deal, so he’ll surely want to gather his strength before beginning negotiations with the descendant of the Norse Berserker warriors.
Theory #2: Where in the world is William Nylander-go?
Let’s run through a quick list of where Willy has been this off-season:
- In Sweden to participate in the Zuccarello vs Lundqvist exhibition game in Sweden (see photo above)
- In Toronto to try out the table type of tennis
- On the golf course giving up his golf career for his burgeoning dance career
- Holding a boy band photo shoot in Monte Carlo
- Holding a male underwear and bathrobe photo shoot
- Beating his life partner, David Pastrnak, at tennis. Don’t worry,Pastrnak took it with grace, like a hockey player.
- Chilling out at the beach with his brother so Alex can mentally prepare for another year in Buffalo
Poor Dubas... when he said the contract would be a day by day process I didn’t realize it was because he was trying to track Nylander down day by day. The last I heard Dubas was checking out the bath robe district in Rio De Janeiro
Theory #3: Dubas is waiting for his comparables to keep signing
We all know about the comprables for Nylander that have signed recent contracts that sort of set the market on him. Pastrnak, Draisaitl and Ehlers are the two I see mentioned the most. But this off-season we also saw some other top young players signing their first non-ELC contracts:
- Dylan Larkin, a center, signed a 5 year contract worth $6.1M AAV.
- Mark Stone, an older (than Nylander) winger with arbitration rights, signed a 1 year deal worth $7.35M.
- Jason Zucker, another older (than Nylander) winger, signed a 5 year deal worth $5.5M AAV.
- Tom Wilson (spits) ruins everything with a 6 year $5.166M AAV contract.
The Mark Stone vs Dylan Larkin contracts are the interesting ones to me. On the one hand: $7.35 million for one year, when Stone’s one year away from free agency, had the Sens over a bit of a barrel, and has more of a track record as a very good winger. On the other hand: a longer term contract for a player with worse stats in his ELC years than Nylander, but a center, with a $6.1M AAV. Unless Nylander takes a bit of a haircut (pun intentional) he seems like he’s going to get $7 million, give or take a bit.
It might be more than Ehlers or Pastrnak make, but with cap inflation it might wind up basically being the same.
Theory #4: Dubas is trying to get all of the big three figured out at once
Next season is when we all know the Leafs will have their big cap crunch. Aside from how much the cap will go up again, how much Nylander, Marner and Matthews get paid by themselves and relative to each other will be fascinating. It will also determine how much cap space they have to, oh, say re-sign Jake Gardiner (or someone else).
Since the Leafs can start talking/negotiating with Marner and Matthews, even if they can’t convince them to sign now, Dubas might be trying to talk with all three camps to get a bit more than a rough idea of how much money it’s going to take for the Leafs to sign all three.
So those are my four theories. What are yours? Internet points to the most creative!
ONTO THE LINKS!
Theres going to be another PPP meetup! You can read all the deets here.
NHL farm system rankings: No. 19 Toronto Maple Leafs | by Corey Pronman at The Athletic
Toronto Marlies Mid-Summer Update: Additions, Subtractions, and the work left to do | by Mark Rackham at MLHS
A big congratulations to Janik Beichler, a former contributor here at PPP who seems to have gotten a gig with The Athletic. His first piece with them was on Olli Juolevi, which is well worth reading as usual!
What theory do you believe?
This poll is closed
Theory 1: Growing the Samson hair
Theory 2: Dubas can’t find him
Theory 3: Gathering market info
Theory 4: Talking to all of the big three
Other Theory: state in comments!