William Nylander is now a $92M man
Photo credit: Toronto Star

One specific detail about the Nylander deal rubbing Leafs fans the wrong way

Published January 9, 2024 at 3:30 PM

When William Nylander finally put pen to paper on his franchise record-setting deal, worth a staggering $92M, there were a lot of mixed feelings among the loyal fans that comprise Leafs Nation. The devil, as they say, is in the details and there's something about that number that isn't sitting quite right with the fanbase.

Yes, Nylander's $11.5M AAV is substantial. Yes, it may seem like a lot right now, but with the cap continuing to rise over the next few seasons, by the time all is said and done, this deal may end up looking quite fair. Hell, if Nylander continues to play the way he is this season, maybe it'll even look like a bit of a bargain. There's something about that total - $92M - that is familiar.

It didn't take long for The Leafs Nation's Nick Alberga to put two and two together, discovering why that number, $92M, is significant. It's because William Nylander's father, Michael Nylander, wore #92 throughout much of his 15-year NHL career.

Over the last couple of weeks, we learned that Michael Nylander was heavily involved in his son's contract extension negotiations. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman had touched on it during a recent edition of 32 Thoughts. In the segment relating to the Nylander situation, Friedman had indicated that there were four yesses required to get a deal done. 1 from the team, 1 from the agent, 1 from Nylander and 1 from the family, obviously represented by Michael Nylander, who knows a thing or two about contract negotiations.

This one has Michael Nylander's finger prints all over it. Yes, William may have been eyeing that $11.5M AAV and we already knew he wanted an 8-year deal, but it seems a little too coincidental that Nylander's contract total equated to his dad's old number, no?

Throughout much of the salary cap era, we have seen a number of players inking deals that contained their own jersey number. We've already seen it twice in Toronto, when Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner signed their last deals. Matthews pushed for $11.634M at the time, while Marner pushed for $10.893M, an ode to his #93 from his junior days. One of the biggest bits of speculation during the Nylander contract negotiation saga was that he might sign for $10.88M, or $11Mx8, which equals 88, reflective of his jersey number. Instead, the two sides landed on #92.

Again, it's entirely possible that Nylander wanted to honour his father in this unique way, but it does seem far more likely at this point that Michael Nylander may have had a little too much sway during the negotiations.
January 9   |   905 answers
One specific detail about the Nylander deal rubbing Leafs fans the wrong way

Do you think it was William Nylander's idea to shoot for $92M or his father, Michael Nylander's call?

Michael Nylander's fingerprints are all over this53659.2 %
William probably just wanted to honour his dad13615 %
Pure coincidence23325.7 %
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