Toronto Maple Leafs: Considerable gap between team and Nylander

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman provided an update on contract negotiations between the Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander, but it didn’t sound particularly encouraging.

As frustrating as the William Nylander contract situation must be for Toronto Maple Leafs fans, at least most of the news relating to negotiations has been positive. Both sides have claimed all along that there is no rush or pressure to get a deal agreed, with one recent report indicating a contract will be signed before training camp begins.

Now, this may well still be the case. However, the situation just became slightly more intense, at least according to an update from Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman.

Friedman has advised that a considerable gap remains in contract negotiations between Nylander and the Leafs. The information came during an interview on Thursday, with Pat Steinberg of Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

Anyone who is familiar with Friedman’s work, knows he is not prone to offering information without any credibility or substance. He is an excellent hockey reporter, who has respect around the league among media collegues, teams and fans alike.

The issue stems from the Leafs’ efforts to get Nylander, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner all signed. Even though the latter two still have one year remaining on their respective entry-level deals, the team wants to resolve their futures now.

The problem with this is that Nylander is effectively the one who could be getting the proverbial short straw. The Leafs want to offer Matthews and Marner long-term deals, but find a way to still have some room under the salary cap.

In order to do this, the team has discussed attempting to persuade Nylander to agree a two-year bridge contract. From his point of view, however, the preference is to sign a long-term deal.

This is understandable, given what the 22-year-old has achieved so far in his young career. He has scored 61 points in each of his full seasons in the NHL and wants some security now, rather than having to wait for another two years (even though it would likely result in an even bigger payday).

Ultimately, the overriding sentiment remains that a deal is coming, as both sides have indicated their desire to maintain a long-term relationship. However, in light of Friedman’s update, you can imagine every passing day without an agreement will make Leafs fans slightly more anxious, with training camp fast approaching.

How do you predict this will all play out? At what point do you believe Nylander will finally agree terms with the Toronto Maple Leafs? And will it be a long-term contract or a bridge deal? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.