Maple Leafs, Nylander agree to 6-year contract

The Toronto Maple Leafs and forward William Nylander have come to terms on a six-year, $45-million contract, the team announced Saturday.

The deal will carry an average annual value of $10.2 million in the first year and then $6.92 million in the final five seasons, according to Cap Friendly.

The two camps went back and forth to try and get a deal done. Had Nylander not inked a deal before  5 p.m. ET on Saturday, he would have been forced to sit out the remainder of the 2018-19 campaign.

Nylander is coming off two straight 62-point seasons with the Maple Leafs. He has posted 48 goals and 135 points in 185 career NHL games.

The 2014 first-rounder has been surrounded by trade speculation throughout the past few months, with several teams reportedly in the hunt for his services.

The Maple Leafs are in Minnesota to face the Wild on Saturday night. The team has jumped out to an 18-8 start despite missing Nylander, as well as Auston Matthews, who sat out 14 games due to a shoulder injury.

“I can’t wait to be back,” Nylander said, according to Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun. “It has been a crazy ride. I wish it would have been done earlier, but I’m very happy to be back with the best fans in the league. I’m very excited.”

Nylander’s place in the lineup is still up in the air. He will get in at least one practice with the team before he sees any game action.

“It’ll take us four or five days to get him in the lineup, but as soon as we can we’ll get him in,” head coach Mike Babcock said, according to TSN’s Mark Masters.

Following the game against the Wild, the Leafs will head to Buffalo for an “away” game against the red-hot Sabres. They then return home for another Atlantic Division matchup with the Detroit Red Wings. Nylander could very well see his debut come against Detroit, who sit sixth in the Atlantic with an 11-11-3 record on the year.

When the winger does return, Babcock could take the tough love approach and place Nylander in the bottom six, or he could return to his regular slot in the lineup alongside Matthews.

Regardless, it’s a fun time in Toronto, and with the 22-year-old Swede back in the fold, the sky’s the limit for the Leafs.

Unfortunately for Leafs fans, the focus will now shift to the contract situations of Matthews and Mitch Marner, as well as the impending free agency of Jake Gardiner.

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