William Nylander signs six-year extension with Maple Leafs at deadline

TORONTO — William Nylander’s contract impasse has finally come to an end.

The restricted free agent signed a six-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, just before the deadline of 5 p.m. ET. The agreement carries an average annual value of US$10.2 million this season and $6.9 million from years two through six.

Nylander, who was selected eighth overall by the Leafs in the 2014 draft, had to sign a contract by Saturday’s deadline in order to be eligible to play in the NHL this season.

Nylander and the club had been at odds on the terms of a new agreement after his entry-level contract expired July 1, with negotiations stretching through the summer, into training camp and ultimately forcing the 22-year-old winger to miss 26 games this season.

There were reports Nylander, who remained in Europe during talks between his representatives and Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas, was initially asking for $8 million per season on a long-term deal, with Toronto believed to have been countering with an offer in a $6-million range annually.

The son of former NHLer Michael Nylander was the first of Toronto’s young star forwards — Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner are the others — to hit restricted free agency.

Nylander is coming off back-to-back 61-point seasons, including a 2017-18 campaign that saw him score 20 goals and add 41 assists. He had 49 points at even strength, with a team-high 34 assists.

The Calgary-born Swede has 48 goals and 87 assists for 135 points in 185 career games. Nylander has added two goals and six assists in 13 playoff outings.

After the Leafs lured centre John Tavares to Toronto with a seven-year, $77-million contract in free agency this summer, head coach Mike Babcock mused about a top line of Nylander, Matthews and veteran winger Patrick Marleau.

But Kasperi Kapanen, one of Nylander’s good friends, occupied the right side on that unit for most of the early part of the schedule until Matthews suffered a left shoulder injury on Oct. 27 that ruled him out of action for 14 games.

Matthews returned to the lineup Wednesday, scoring twice and adding an assist in a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks.

Toronto, a popular pre-season pick to hoist the Stanley Cup this spring thanks in large part to its explosive offensive talent up front, has a record of 18-8-0 heading into Saturday’s road game against Minnesota and was third in the overall standings.

Matthews and Marner, a pair of 21 year olds whose entry-level contracts are set to expire next summer, have said they’re talking with the Leafs about new deals.

Matthews could be looking for something in the neighbourhood of the $12.5 million per year Edmonton superstar Connor McDavid takes home, while Marner’s ballpark might land somewhere in the $10-million range of Buffalo captain Jack Eichel.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Empty vaccine bottles lie on a tray inside a small clinic in Gampela village on the outskirts of Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, Saturday Oct. 10, 2020. The public health clinic responsible for serving approximately 11,000 people, did not have a working fridge for almost a year. The vaccine cold chain hurdle is just the latest disparity of the pandemic weighted against the poor, who more often live and work in crowded conditions that allow the virus to spread, have little access to medical oxygen vital to COVID-19 treatment, and whose health systems lack labs, supplies or technicians to carry out large-scale testing. (AP Photo/Sam Mednick)
Vaccine storage issues could leave 3B people without access

Cold chain hurdle is just the latest disparity of the pandemic

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet are expected to return to the House of Commons after isolating due to COVID-19 as Parliament resumes Monday for its first full week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Commons set for debate Liberals say undermines confidence in Parliament

Conservatives push for an anticorruption committee

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb in Alberta. Recent infections include two connected to Red Deer College as well as at two more Red Deer schools. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
896 new COVID cases reported in Alberta

Alberta reported almost 900 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and four additional… Continue reading

Student taking a math test. (Pixabay photo)
David Marsden: Students need more testing, not less

Testing has been central to Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s… Continue reading

Arizona Cardinals’ Kyler Murray celebrates running the ball for a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Murray has happy homecoming, Cards cruise past Cowboys 38-10

‘Monday Night Football’ debut for Murray

Gillian Robertson celebrates her win over Sarah Frota during UFC 240, in Edmonton, Saturday, July 27, 2019. Robertson used her superior grappling skills to dominate Brazil's Poliano Botelho en route to a unanimous decision win Saturday night on a UFC Fight Night card. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian Gillian (The Savage) Robertson dominates in UFC decision win in Abu Dhabi

Canadian Gillian (The Savage) Robertson dominates in UFC decision win in Abu Dhabi

Forge FC head coach Bobby Smyrniotis, right, hugs captain Kyle Bekker following their victory in the Canadian Premier League soccer final against Cavalry FC in Calgary, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. A month after winning the Island Games in Charlottetown, Hamilton-based Forge FC is back on the move. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CPL champion Forge FC off to El Salvador for CONCACAF League preliminary-round match

CPL champion Forge FC off to El Salvador for CONCACAF League preliminary-round match

Course workers prepare the landing area at the ski jump venue in Whistler Olympic Park in Whistler, B.C. Friday, Feb. 5, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Next generation of Canadian ski talent sets sights on Whistler, B.C., in 2023

Next generation of Canadian ski talent sets sights on Whistler, B.C., in 2023

Most Read