The Leafs head coach once again expressed confidence about the holdout forward's future, and this time, he implied that he believes Nylander will be around for the long haul.
"(General manager) Kyle (Dubas) and I talk about this every day, so I'm up-to-date on what's going on," Babcock told reporters, including TSN's Mark Masters, after Thursday's practice. "There's lots of opinion out there, and let's not confuse opinion and facts. We think Willy's going to be here. We think Willy's going to be here for a long time, and we think he's going to be a career Leaf. That's what we think."
Babcock prefaced his remarks by making it clear that "this is what I think." When asked who the "we" referred to in his subsequent comments, he clarified that he meant himself "and the organization."
The Leafs bench boss previously stated that he was confident and hopeful that Nylander would re-sign with Toronto. When the Leafs were missing both Nylander and Auston Matthews, after the latter was injured, Babcock said significant pieces weren't there but that "they will be here."
Nylander and the Leafs face a deadline of Saturday at 5 p.m. ET to come to an agreement on a new deal. If they don't reach one, he'll be ineligible to play for the rest of the season.