For the first time in a while it seems like there may be some cracks showing in the master plan that has been put forward by young Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas.
Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander was available to the media during the European Player Media Tour today and as you would expect he fielded questions regarding his ongoing negotiations with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Some of the other big name restricted free agents around the National Hockey League have already signed their contracts, like Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin, and with training camp approaching some wondered if that was applying any additional pressure on Nylander. The young forward seemed to indicate that as far as he was concerned everything was going to plan.
"Now that contract negotiations have started you're more aware of what's going on with things like that," Nylander said as per NHL.com on Thursday. "Right now, once something like that happens, you're more updated on what's going on around the League, more educated. But once you sign, I don't think you pay attention to that.
"There is no extra pressure or urgency to get something done just because guys like (Larkin) sign."
Although everything may be good right now for the first time that I can remember Nylander openly expressed doubts about the plan put forth by general manager Kyle Dubas. Dubas was on record earlier this summer stating that he believes he can get Nylander as well as forwards Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner all signed to long term deals in spite of the addition of John Tavares and his 11 million dollar cap hit, but according to NHL.com's Mike Zeisberger Nylander is not sure how that can be done under the current NHL salary cap. Nylander did add however that it would be nice if it could get done.
"I think it would be amazing," he said. "We've been playing together now for a couple of years and having a lot of fun and a lot of success together. It would be a blast to be together for a long time."
I may be reading too much into the comments from Nylander on Thursday but if he has doubts about Dubas being able to get all three players on a long term deal that indicates to me that Nylander is not all that interested in taking a hometown discount to facilitate the situation. The aforementioned Dylan Larkin just got $6.1 million per season on a 5 year deal with the Detroit Red Wings and he has put up inferior numbers to the ones that Nylander has boasted during his NHL career. Larkin does play at a more valuable position so that does skew the number somewhat but most pundits around the league believe that Nylander should command a larger number than Larkin did.
For what it's worth Nylander is not in any kind of rush and does believe that a deal will get done, whether or not that will be a long term deal as Dubas had planned however is no longer a guarantee.
"I've said all along that Kyle wanted to take things slow and I'm fine with that," Nylander said. "They're going back and forth with my agent from what I hear. We'll see what happens. They said it would take a while and I'm still not worried. When it gets done, it gets done."