As the one remaining contract needed to be signed for next season, all the attention is on William Nylander and what his first post-ELC contract will look like.
William Nylander says he wants a long-term contract with Maple Leafs as opposed to a bridge deal.
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) August 1, 2018
As reported by Luke Fox of Sportsnet, Nylander is looking for a long-term deal, not just a bridge deal.
Looking around at similar contracts and similar players, the David Pastrnak and Nikolaj Ehlers contracts come to mind when a long-term deal is mentioned. Both were signed immediately after their Entry-Level Contract expired, and both are in the similar range of skillset as Nylander.
Just last offseason, Pastrnak signed a 6 year, $40-million dollar contract for a $6.66m AAV on the Bruins’ cap. Similarly, Ehlers signed a 7 year, $42-million dollar contract for a $6.0m AAV on the Jets’ cap – it did take until October 7th last year for the Jets and Ehlers to reach an agreement, so let’s hope it’s a shorter negotiation for Nylander’s new deal.
Other than just comparing a couple contracts, Matt Cane has brilliantly summarized what each free agent’s new contract will look like. Taking in past examples of contracts from similarly-talented players, Cane’s predictions can be seen here.
For Nylander, Cane predicts the most-likely contract is a 5-year deal, coming in just a hair over $7-million on the cap hit. If both the team and Nylander’s camp prefer a longer term, Cane’s model has both the 6-year and 7-year contracts coming in around $6.95-million per year and the 8-year option at $7.5-million. Clearly, there is a range that is predictable for Nylander’s new deal.
Since it looks like the Leafs might be very, very, very good for a long, long, long time, the smartest thing for the team is to lock-up one of their most talented players for as long as they can. Giving Nylander security like that might just bring the cap hit down and get rid of the ridiculous notion that the Leafs will be unable to fit all of their good players under the cap.
No matter what, Nylander will be worth the contract that they will realistically agree upon.