Insider says Nylander wants to be a Leaf, reveals issue holding up negotiations

Published August 25, 2023 at 9:16

Now that Brad Treliving's front office has locked up Auston Matthews to a 4-year contract extension, effectively keeping him in Toronto for the next 5 seasons, the collective eyes of Leafs Nation are now fixed on William Nylander. Like Matthews, Nylander's current deal is set to expire at the end of the upcoming season.

For Treliving, there may be a feeling of deja vu. Last summer, it was another star in Johnny Gaudreau headed towards free agency. Both Gaudeau and Nylander are represented by Lewis Gross. Given the result of last year's negotiations, there may still be some lingering hard feelings there. Chris Johnston alluded to this on the latest episode of The Chris Johnston Show.

"The two prime actors in terms of negotiating a new deal are the same ones that were there when Gaudreau said a lot of nice things about Calgary. Those talks went until I believe 2 days before free agency opened before Johnny finally gave the Flames official word that we was gonna move on and then signed in Columbus. So maybe the trust level might be a little bit uneasy there. I think it's fair to assume that given what's gone on in the past."

Johnston went on to point out that there is one key difference between Nylander and Gaudreau. One that could make all the difference when the cards are on the table and all avenues have been exhausted.

"This is the difference right. With Gaudreau there was some question, you know he's an American, there was always rumours around him that he wanted to play in the East cost near his family. Even after he signed in Columbus he talked about even though he didn't end up in the Philly/New Jersey are where he was from that he's still closer to family.

I think what's different here is that Nylander really really wants to stay. I don't think it's a question of the city or the team or the fans or anything like that. The question is can the Leafs pay him enough to make him feel wanted and make him want to stay."

What it all boils down to in the end is that Johnny Hockey's heart wasn't in Calgary. It's clear that Johnston, who never wavered in his assertion that Matthews wanted to and would stay in Toronto, believes that Nylander's heart is in Toronto with the Maple Leafs as well. As long as that remains the case, the tension that exists between Treliving and Gross shouldn't be an issue.
August 25   |   1330 answers
Insider says Nylander wants to be a Leaf, reveals issue holding up negotiations

Do you believe William Nylander's top priority is to remain a Maple Leaf?

Yes39529.7 %
Only if he's paid well to stay56142.2 %
He'll leave and sign with the highest bidder22116.6 %
He'll be traded15311.5 %
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