Today, Sportsnet reported that William Nylander went to visit his sister in Austria and ended up skating with a team in the EBEL in practice. There’s no word on how long he plans to stay with the team, coached by a former OHL head coach of long-standing, Dave MacQueen. But it’s a good sign that he’s gearing up into game shape with real practices instead of just solo workouts.

If Kyle Dubas’s trip to Switzerland to meet with Nylander was successful in breaking open the contract talks, and if a deal is signed soon (both big ifs), how long would it take to get Nylander in the Leafs lineup?

One Toronto reporter today said one or two weeks to get in game shape, but that seems like a very long time to need for conditioning. A little historical perspective might shed some light. In 2016, while the World Cup of Hockey delayed the start of the NHL season and kept many players out of training camp, two Anaheim Ducks were slowly finalizing their new contracts.

On October 14, Rickard Rakell signed his deal, and at the time he said it might take two weeks to be ready. However, Rakell had had surgery in mid-September to remove scar tissue from a previous surgery. He was delayed in training by that more than the contract negotiation.

He played his first game for the Ducks on November 2, but he unexpectedly needed 12 days to get his work visa sorted out after he signed his contract. That plus the surgery recovery, which meant he needed several full practices with the Ducks before he could draw in and play, caused the long delay.

Most foreign nationals need a work visa to live and work in Canada or the United States. However, in Canada, if you’re born here, you’re a citizen, so Nylander (born in Calgary) might not actually need a visa. This has never been reported on before, so I’m unsure of the legal requirements in his case. If he doesn’t need a visa, the process of joining the team can be considerably quicker.

Hampus Lindholm also signed with the Ducks late in 2016. He agreed to his deal on October 27, and at that time, he said he should be able to play right away as he had been skating with an SHL team back home.

However, Lindholm didn’t play until November 9, and his delay in joining the Ducks was entirely due to the time lag in getting his visa. He arrived in California on November 7, after leaving Sweden as soon as he had the visa, and was indeed game ready immediately.

Once Nylander does sign, he has to get a visa if necessary, get to Toronto, get medical clearance, and then pass the Babcock test in practice. So two weeks sounds plausible, but not because of conditioning.

The fact that Nylander is skating with a team is the most positive bit of news yet that this might be all over soon, and it’s possible he could be on the ice before American Thanksgiving.

Are you optimistic?

Do you think a deal gets done soon?

Within days774
He’s going to be traded.604
He’ll sit out the whole year.163
It will go to the wire, and he’ll sign on the last day.549