Nylander hopes to sign long term with Leafs: 'I want to be in Toronto'
Despite reports of a sizeable gap between the Maple Leafs and William Nylander in extension negotiations, the winger is adamant that he wants to sign a long-term deal to stay in Toronto.
"I want to be in Toronto as long as I can," Nylander said at NHL European Player Media Tour on Wednesday, per NHL.com's Tom Gulitti. "That's just where my mind is at."
Nylander is entering the final year of his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent in 2024. Teammate Auston Matthews was initially in the same boat, but he signed a four-year, $53-million extension on Wednesday to prolong his stay in Toronto.
Finding a resolution for Nylander will likely be the next priority for new general manager Brad Treliving, but with one of the most laid-back personalities in the game, the Swede is in no rush to get a deal done.
"Obviously, I want it to work where I can stay there and be there," Nylander said. "There's no other place I want to play, but I still have one more year left. I don't understand why there's such a big rush to do something right now. I still have one more year left."
Nylander has previously shown that he's willing to play the waiting game. It took until Dec. 1, 2018 - the last day restricted free agents could've signed a contract and played that season - for Nylander to ink his current six-year deal that carries a $6.96-million cap hit.
His agent, Lewis Gross, has had discussions with Treliving this offseason, but nothing appears imminent.
"They had been talking, but I don't think there's been much going on about that," Nylander said. "But I'm just focused on getting ready for the season and having my best season yet in order to help us take the next step, too."
Nylander has established himself as one of the game's most electrifying talents. He's coming off a career year in which he tallied 40 goals and 47 assists in 82 games, then added 10 points in 11 playoff contests.
Evolving-Hockey projects a fair extension for Nylander as an eight-year deal with a $9.06-million cap hit.
Notable contract comparisons from this offseason include Pierre-Luc Dubois ($8.5 million AAV), Timo Meier ($8.8 million AAV), and Sebastian Aho ($9.75 million AAV) - all of whom signed for eight years.
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