William Nylander wondering how he's going to spend all that money after signing his extension
Photo credit: NHL

Nylander reportedly almost traded before signing his extention in Toronto

Published January 8, 2024 at 1:04 PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander have finally agreed to an extension, putting an end to all of the speculation. The deal will keep Nylander in Toronto for the next 8 seasons and will pay him a handsome $11.5M per season.

As with every signing in Toronto, there are many detractors saying that the Leafs could have signed him for cheaper in the off-season, but is that really the case? Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported on today's 32 Thoughts podcast that it may not have been the case as Nylander and his camp had a number in mind that was very close to what was agreed upon today. While discussing Nylander's extension with Jeff Marek, Friedman brought up a very interesting point and one he believes is the reason why the Leafs ultimately chose to re-sign Nylander to this monstrous contract.

"I think this is the key thing. I think over the summer, the Toronto Maple Leafs made it clear they would consider trading William Nylander for a top defenseman and there just wasn't anything out there. Part of the reason is that teams that were going to trade for him didn't know if they were going to be able to sign him. So, nobody is trading a top defenseman or a really good defenseman for a Nylander that you don't know if you're going to be able to sign. Look at how hard this negotiation was going to be for Toronto. It wasn't going to be any easier anywhere else. So that made it difficult for Toronto to make a deal, they had no deal to make.

I think from the beginning of the season until just before Christmas when Toronto re-engaged, and I think a lot of this started again just after their trip to Sweden... I think the Maple Leafs went through the league and said 'if we let him go and we use that money on the blueline, who is the defenseman we could go get and be impactful enough to fix the loss of Nylander and his production?...They said there is not a defenseman they can get their hands on who is worth losing this player."

Ultimately, the Leafs decided that there was no defenseman they could sign this summer that would give them as much value as Nylander has. Additionally, no team wanted to take a chance at having to re-sign Nylander and trading away a cornerstone or top-pairing defenseman.

The deal keeps Nylander a Leaf until his age 36 season, and while the back half of the deal may not look all that great, with a rising salary cap and John Tavares' deal coming off of the books at the end of next season, it will not be as bad as many predict or expect. Nylander will also likely receive a large chunk of it in the front half of the deal, making it easier to move later if it comes down to that.

January 8   |   1139 answers
Nylander reportedly almost traded before signing his extention in Toronto

Do you think this was an overpayment from the Leafs?

Definitely32328.4 %
Right now yes, will be fine in a couple years37432.8 %
No, definitely worth the money44238.8 %
Latest 10 stories