Insider provides shocking update on Nylander negotiations

Mike Armenti
December 26, 2023  (5:33 PM)

Photo credit: NHL

While it's been mostly all quiet on the William Nylander front this season, following Nylander's pre-season comments to the media about not wanting to discuss his contract status all year, that hasn't prevented people from talking about the situation from time to time.

Prior to the start of the year, Nylander's ask was believed to be in the proximity of $10M per season, but with how incredible a start as he's had, it's certainly plausible that his ask may have gone up with his stellar play.
Nylander is on an incredible 119-point pace so far this season, which would smash his career best 87 points last season by a large margin. As such, we should only expect him to demand a little more - especially with how much better he has played than Mitch Marner and John Tavares this season, both of whom are in that $11M range for the Leafs already.
Shortly before the holiday break, TSN's Darren Dreger was asked where things currently stand between the Leafs and the Nylander camp. Naturally, as Dreger often does, he had no problem pumping up the player's value on TSN 1050's First Up.
"It's gotta be around $11M, right? If it's on an 8-year extension, maybe it's $11M flat or just under $11M. If it's less than 8 years, well then the AAV is probably going to go up a bit - and it also depends what Willy is going to be able to accomplish here in the next several weeks."

$11M per season seems very steep for a player, who just a few months ago, people were speculating would be the member of the Core 4 most likely to be traded. Now, it doesn't seem so crazy, with how his season has gone through the first 2 and a half months. Dreger has been accused of being a mouthpiece for the agents in the past, but this past week, he was very adamant that Nylander's numbers are driving his current value up, and nothing else.
"Look, I mean, just do the math. We've got analytics people... start crunching his numbers and productivity - and not just the overall goals and assists. Of course that matters, but you know what analytics can do. When you [hash] out his numbers, his numbers are up there with the big money guys, there's no question about that.

Whether the Leafs think it's fair or not, hey - individually, you deserve what you earn, and in this case, I think, given the fact that the cap is going up, the game is changed financially. William Nylander has definitely earned that [$11M AAV]."

Love him or hate him, Dreger makes a good point. It's Nylander's play that has increased his value. The player himself was very clear about not wanting to create a ton of noise surrounding his negotiations. It's his play that is driving up his price tag - not individuals like Dreger and others who are talking about his value. That's established through his numbers - and right now, his numbers are right up there with the top guys in the league. I don't know that he'll settle for less when he deserves every penny of his reported $11M value.
Insider provides shocking update on Nylander negotiations

If you were GM Brad Treliving and it came down to paying Nylander $11M per season for the next 8 years or walking away, what would you do?

Walk away12512.8 %
Pay Willy. He's earned it46848.1 %
Trade him at the deadline and get SOMETHING38039.1 %
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