Leafs' Nylander on contract stalemate: 'I have to take care of myself'
Claus Andersen / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Toronto Maple Leafs played their season opener Wednesday night with one key piece missing from the lineup: William Nylander.

The forward remains in Sweden, without a contract, as he and the Maple Leafs continue to try to work out a deal that pleases both sides.

"In the end I have to take care of myself and do what I and my agent thinks is right," he told Swedish outlet Aftonbladet, as translated by Sportsnet. "Especially if it's about several years to come. I need to think long term. It's my own future it's about."

By dragging the holdout into the regular season, Nylander is now forfeiting more than $30,000 in pay each day he remains unsigned, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.

Nylander has said he's seeking a long-term contract rather than a bridge deal.

While Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has gone on record to say he also prefers Nylander sign a long-term deal, the team insists all of its top players take less money to keep the squad together under the salary cap, just as John Tavares did this summer, taking $11 million per year when he likely could've received more elsewhere.

Related: Dubas confirms Maple Leafs don't want to trade Nylander

"It wasn't (Tavares') responsibility to set a new bar or to please other people with other interests," team president Brendan Shanahan said Wednesday. "He's a hockey player. He wanted to come here and win hockey games. He wanted to be treated fairly and he is. And yes, that is what is we would hope and expect from our players as we go forward."

Nylander said he's been left in the dark during most of the negotiations.

"Right now, I do not know more than all the rest of you," Nylander told Aftonbladet. "I have not received any messages and have no contact with Toronto. It’s my agent who takes care of everything."

Johnston notes that Nylander's eventual long-term contract is expected to compare similarly to Nikolaj Ehlers' seven-year, $6-million AAV with the Jets, and David Pastrnak's six-year, $6.67-million AAV with the Bruins.

Related - Dubas: 'We can, and we will' retain Matthews, Marner, Nylander

Nylander has been working out and skating regularly in Sweden, but a return date to Toronto - where a spot on the team's top line with Matthews and Patrick Marleau is being kept warm by Tyler Ennis - still remains unclear.

Leafs' Nylander on contract stalemate: 'I have to take care of myself'
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