William Nylander now focused on the 2nd half of the season with a new contract in place
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Treliving, Keefe, and Nylander all share their thoughts on Willy's franchise record extension

Published January 9, 2024 at 9:05
BY DEAN CHAUDHRY

After months of rumours and speculation, the Toronto Maple Leafs have finally locked down William Nylander for the next 8 seasons. His cap hit will increase by $4.58 million per season from his current contract, up to a whopping $11.5M, however, with the salary cap rising and the Maple Leafs carrying several expiring contracts, it works out a lot smoother than most think.

For Nylander, it's a huge relief to finally have the weight of the negotiations off his shoulders as he can now focus entirely on the rest of the 2023-24 season and beyond. He has endeared himself to the city of Toronto so much that he instinctively calls it home now:

"Nice to know it's done and I know where I'm going to stay the next eight years," Nylander told a media horde at the Ford Performance Centre.

"I was talking to a friend about going home and I was referring to Toronto without even thinking about it. This is home now, the longest I've ever spent in one place," he said.


As for Brad Treliving, taking over the Maple Leafs in a huff and a puff this summer wasn't an easy task. He had to quickly turn things around from a disappointing series defeat to Florida and then having to deal with Auston Matthews and Nylander's contract situations.

Earlier today, the Maple Leafs had an official signing ceremony at the rink. Treliving had a few quips about the situation but also understood the seriousness of locking down Nylander for the foreseeable future, especially after his transformation into an all-round player:

"You've got to give it to Willy. If I was that age with that kind of money, I would have slept here last night. We were being serious, too. I said you don't need to change anything, but it's that old line 'to whom much is given, much is expected.'

To me, he can take another step in his leadership. When you see him competing and playing a 200-foot game like our top guys do, the rest of the team follows. He continues to mature and, when he's at his best, there are very few better in the NHL."

Then you have Sheldon Keefe, who has been around Nylander since he was a 19-year-old in the AHL playing for the Toronto Marlies. He has seen his game sky-rocket from being a good top-6 player to a bonafide superstar in the NHL as he's currently tied for 5th in points with Connor McDavid:

"Sometimes his actions haven't met his ambitions," Keefe noted. "And we had to push him (even bench him on occasion).

The points potential has always been there. (Now) he's taken his game to another level."

For the time being, the Maple Leafs have Matthews, Nylander, Mitch Marner, and John Tavares locked up for next 1.5 seasons. With the cap projected to jump up to $87.5 million this summer and then $92 million the following summer - when Marner and Tavares come off the books - it will be interesting to see how Treliving and company line things up.

However, for the time being, we rejoice in the idea that Nylander will be donning the Blue and White until 2032.


POLL
January 9   |   958 answers
Treliving, Keefe, and Nylander all share their thoughts on Willy's franchise record extension

Which contract do you think Brad Treliving did better on between Matthews and Nylander?

Matthews (4x$13.25M)26828 %
Nylander (8x$11.5M)30732 %
Neither16216.9 %
Both great deals22123.1 %
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