William Nylander and the Toronto Maple Leafs have gone through months of negotiation without any new contract to speak of. Now, it appears as though the contract impasse could be nearing a conclusion.
On Tuesday, a Twitter user sent out some information that caught the eye of several Maple Leafs fans.
He followed up that tweet with another pointing out the next flight from Zurich to Toronto wasn’t until Wednesday morning. The question evidently wasn’t about who was heading to Toronto, but who was coming in.
Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas reportedly landed in Switzerland on Wednesday to meet with Nylander and his camp, a source told the Toronto Sun’s Lance Hornby.
The source also stated that it’s unknown whether the meeting is to get a new contract signed or to reassure Nylander that the organization still wants to sign him to a long-term deal.
Nylander has been working out in Sweden since training camp. Zurich offers a neutral site for the two sides to negotiate.
The Maple Leafs haven’t felt the loss of Nylander as of yet. They’ve come out of the gates hot, sitting atop the NHL standings with a 6-1 record.
More concerning to Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen has stepped into his role on the Leafs’ first line alongside Auston Matthews and has posted eight points in seven games to open the season.
The two sides have previously failed to reach an agreement, assumedly because of differing expectations in salary.
In terms of contracts, Nylander has been compared to David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg’s Nikolaj Ehlers. The former signed a six-year, $40-million contract ahead of training camp in 2017. The latter inked a 7-year, $42-million pact with the Jets on the opening night of the 2017-18 season.
However, Nylander is reportedly seeking a contract similar to Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers pivot signed an eight-year, $68-million deal in the summer of 2017.
Nylander looks to be posting similar numbers to Draisaitl. In their first two seasons playing over 50 games, Pastrnak posted 49 goals and 96 points, while Ehlers had 30 goals and 102 points.
Draisaitl had 48 goals and 122 points in his first two full NHL campaigns. But his numbers were arguably propped up because of Connor McDavid, who the German played with a majority of that span.
Nylander has posted back-to-back 61 point seasons. That’s 122 points over a two-year span – including 42 goals. But like Draisaitl, Nylander has played with an elite centre in Auston Matthews, which likely elevated his stat totals over the two seasons.
While the stats suggest that 22-year-old has a case for the number he’s asking for, the Leafs have a ton of factors that go into the number they’re pushing – Namely signing both Matthews and Mitch Marner.
With a Dec. 1 deadline set for Toronto to sign the winger, the news is certainly a positive first step. Most, if not all of Leafs Nation will be refreshing Twitter for the next few days in hopes that the talented Swede will feature in the Leafs’ lineup sooner rather than later.