As Saturday began, time was running out for the Leafs and William Nylander to strike a deal. Had a deal not been in place by 5pm EST on December 1st, Nylander would have been ineligible to play this season. However, that would not come to pass as the team and Nylander agreed to a six-year, $41.4 million contract according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
The first two years of the deal are front-loaded. Year one of the contract has an AAV of $10.2 million and year two sits at $9 million. However, year’s three through five all max out at $6 million ( $2.5M base salary, $3.5M signing bonus). In addition, there is a 10 team no-trade clause that comes into effect in the final year of the contract.
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Nylander is now set to begin his fourth NHL season. He broke into the league at 19 playing 22 games in 2015-16. That season he had 13 points (6G, 7A). However, he has had back-to-back 61 point seasons the past two years. He notched 20 goals in 2016-17 and 22 goals last season. Nylander will now rejoin the Leafs who sit just one point behind both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Buffalo Sabres for the Atlantic Division lead.
Going home pic.twitter.com/neccpyfBVz
— William Nylander (@wmnylander) December 1, 2018
Nylander represents one of many sizeable contracts the Leafs will have to issue in the near future. Most notably, Auston Matthews will need to be re-signed sooner rather than later. As mentioned before, the Leafs have played well without Nylander as they are off to an 18-8 start to the season. They have done this in the absence of Nylander. In addition, Matthews has just returned after a prolonged absence and with the addition of John Tavares in the offseason, the potent Leafs’ offense may get even more potent.