In true millennial/Gen-Z fashion, Kyle Dubas and William Nylander came to a contract extension agreement five minutes before the due date. I’d like to judge them, but I, too, usually get assignments turned in about 5 seconds before they’re due.
Nylander ultimately signed a six-year contract that will have an AAV of $10.2M in the first year, and an AAV of $6.9M in the following five years, which totals to $41.77M. However, the Leafs have plenty of cap space this year, so for the years that it matters, they’ll be paying him $6.9M.
I think it’s a little higher than what the Leafs wanted to give him, but it shouldn’t keep them from being able to sign Marner and Matthews, and Nylander came down a lot from the reported $8M, which I think means that he realized that he’d rather have a legitimate chance of winning the Stanely Cup for the next 6+ years than make a little more money. I don’t know if Nylander realized that it’s highly unlikely that the Leafs will trade him regardless of what they’re making, or if he just really wanted to play again, but either way, I’m happy that he’s going to be back.
While I’ve seen people upset that Nylander is making more than Pastrnak, and I understand where they’re coming from, but Pastrnak took an incredibly team friendly deal, and deserves to be making over $7M, but decided that he was happy taking a smaller contract. That doesn’t mean that Nylander is obligated to do the same thing though. Over the three years of his ELC (in which he played, 46, 51, and 75 games) Pastrnak had 0.72 points/game. In the three years of his ELC (in which he played 22, 81, and 82 games) Nylander had 0.73 points/game. While Pastrnak did have more goals/game than Nylander, they’re both incredibly talented young players, and I’m happy that the Leafs managed to get Nylander for under $7M.
When asked if the Leafs would be able to keep Matthews, Marner, and Nylander after signing Tavares Dubas said “we can and we will” and while it looked like it wouldn’t happen, he’s delivered on the first part, but still has two players left to go. I do think that waiting until the last minute with Nylander was important though. It lets the other players know that Dubas isn’t going to bend, and it ensured that the Leafs didn’t sign Nylander to a contract that was going to put the Matthews and Marner contracts at risk. I’d expect that the Matthews contract will be around the $11M that Tavares got, while Marner is going to be closer to $8M (everyone who’s saying $10M+ needs to stop, but that’s a whole other blog post).
It’ll be interesting to see how soon Nylander starts playing again, since he will have to get back up to the NHL level, but I can’t imagine that they’ll want him to sit out for much longer, but with Mike Babcock you never really know. But ultimately, I just want to go back to seeing Nylander and Matthews celly by jumping into each others’ arms, and I’m glad that Nylander’s career as a Leaf isn’t over yet.