NHL Rumor Mill – October 18, 2018

by | Oct 18, 2018 | Rumors | 51 comments

Are the Leafs and William Nylander getting closer to a new contract? Check out the latest in your NHL rumor mill.

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas is in Switzerland meeting with free agent William Nylander and his representatives. (Photo via NHL Images)


TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby yesterday reported Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas traveled to Switzerland to meet with restricted free agent William Nylander and his representatives. He wonders if this meeting will help bring the four-month stalemate between the two sides to an end. Dubas has until Dec. 1 to get Nylander under contract or the 22-year-old forward will become ineligible to play in the NHL this season.

Dubas has insisted he’s not shopping Nylander, who wants to stick with the Leafs. However, Hornby feels the Leafs GM will have to seriously consider trade offers, perhaps for a defenseman, if there’s no resolution in sight.

Hornby speculates the idea of a bridge contract could be back on the table, with Nylander perhaps taking between $4 million to $5 million annually for two years with the hope of cashing in big afterward.

TSN: “Part of the reason Dubas made his pilgrimage to Switzerland reportedly involved assuring Nylander that the Leafs’ strong start doesn’t diminish how much they want him back in the lineup.”

THE ATHLETIC: James Mirtle reports sources saying the Nylander impasse appears headed for a bridge-deal solution. The two sides remain far apart on the dollars for a long-term deal, with the Nylander camp asking for something in the $8-million range while the Leafs prefer $6 million.

Mirtle’s sources say it wouldn’t be a one-year contract, meaning it’ll likely be between two-to-four years. He feels the best comparable would be Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov’s three-year, $14.3-million deal ($4.76 million annual average value).

Mirtle believes it would be the best way to go for Nylander, providing him an opportunity to make much more down the road. It’s not the ideal option for the Leafs, who hoped to get the young forward under a reasonable long-term deal but it would be the best solution to ending this standoff.

THE ATHLETIC: Tony Abbott makes the case for the Minnesota Wild to make a pitch for Nylander if the Leafs aren’t able to resolve the contract situation. Bringing in Nylander could provide the Wild with a game-breaking young star. Abbott suggests a package of defenseman Jared Spurgeon and winger Nino Niederreiter might tempt the Leafs. Nylander would be an upgrade over Niederreiter, though parting with Spurgeon could be a risky move for the Wild.

AZCENTRAL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Richard Morin was asked if the Arizona Coyotes should attempt to acquire Nylander. He believes the Leafs’ asking price would be promising defenseman Jakob Chychrun, a player the Coyotes don’t want to part with. “I’d put the chances of a Nylander trade to Arizona as next-to-none,” said Morin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas heading to Switzerland to meet face-to-face with the Nylander camp suggests the Leafs GM wants to get this situation resolved as soon as possible. Sure, the Leafs are off to a great start without Nylander but Dubas doesn’t want this situation becoming an unnecessary distraction, especially with a Dec. 1 deadline to get the young forward under contract.

A two-to-four year bridge deal for something between $4.7 to $5 million annually appears to be the best solution. The two sides are just too far apart on the dollars for a long-term deal to reach an agreement right now. 

As terrific as the Leafs are without Nylander thus far this season, imagine how much better they could be with him in the lineup? The sooner Nylander is re-signed, the quicker he can return to action and get back into game shape. Once he’s up to speed, he’ll become a valuable contributor over the course of this season. 

If the Nylander standoff drags on into November, Dubas could be forced to start seriously entertaining trade options. I concur with Morin that Nylander won’t end up in Arizona. Chychrun’s recent knee injuries could also dampen his trade value. An offer of Spurgeon and Niederreiter could be tempting for the Leafs but I don’t think Wild GM Paul Fenton is keen to swing a blockbuster move right now. 



  1. At first I was against signing him at all costs but thankfully it appears the Leafs are thinking the same way so if we can have him at a reasonable price then the thought of him joining Matthews and Kappy on that first line and putting Marleau with kadri could be far better than we could have hoped for.

    Kappy brings alot of what Hyman did for that line but he also brings his own offensive skills nvm his speed which are above Hymans in all ways.

    That could end up being the best line in hockey as it gains experience playing together.

    • Not only does “KalEl” think Marleau plays out season next year for $1million dollar$;

      He actually said he thinks Marleau signs for ANOTHER 2 YRS @ LEAGUE MINIMUM!!!!


  2. So, in essence, the mountain went to Mohammed. Easy to see who’s blinking first.

    • George

      Love the analogy. 🙂

      I’m ok with the Mountain travelling over the big pond to talk. It should not be interpreted as a capitulation but as a willingness to talk.

      WW’s camp has to be completely aware now that they have lost whatever small upper hand they had misguidedly thought they had. Kap play has thrown the WW camp a huge monkey wrench.

      2 @ $4.9M ($5.3M outside)— and Bob’s your uncle.

      I’d still like a trade but the bridge by 2 will work fine for everybody. The savings for 19/20 (bridge over long term) can be used towards UFA D $’s

      Re: Minn and Spurgeon. I like Spurgeon but he’ll be 29 soon and if you are trading a 22 year old winger of that ilk, you need a younger (than 29— 24 to 27 best) year old D coming back. NN also good, but Leafs are good to go with fwds.

      Minn won’t be giving up Dumba (which would be my ask); so a trade with Minn (with my logic above and with them not giving up Dumba) is IMO, not going to happen.

      Ana just picked up an extra D… so they have room to move Manson or Montour…. that would be my move

      • No deal yet and I think when and if it gets done it’s likely a bridge because neither Dubas or Nylander are getting what they really want so not sure Id consider it a win for either at that point so I don’t agree that either sides leverage helped out much

      • Yeeeah … maybe – just that, somehow I don’t envisage a Lou Lamoriello or Poile or a Sammy Pollock flying thousands of miles to talk turkey with a hold-out.

      • George you’re sureness is off. Lou stresses treating players as people not just players as well as “hockey is a business or the business side of hockey” yada yada.

        It’s a simple face to face and my guess is (based in my experience) this is a final offer where it’s either gonna be accepted or Dubas will know he’s gonna have to trade him.

      • When was the last time a GM went thousands of miles to talk with a hold-out – NOT a first-time contract but a hold-out -instead of the player and/or his agent coming to the GM’s office? Just wondering if you have any record of that taking place.

      • I like what Dubas is doing. He isn’t letting ego be a factor in getting his job done

    • Not sure I see the Leafs dumping much if anything on a UFA D with the savings if there is a bridge I’m pretty sure they will keep some space for their own players which would be the idea of getting him to bridge on the first place also I’m not sure bridge doesn’t mean they don’t re-up him prior to the bridge being over kinda counter productive if you ask me to blow what you saved when the whole point was to make sure you have the space to sign your own players… just my opinion

    • no one is blinking, it is an asset. If Nylander has dug in then gone.

  3. It’s funny how last year, every time I heard the rumors about Nylander being traded would annoy me and yet now because of what’s going on I can’t stand him and wish he was traded. I think it’s a bit greedy.

  4. Lyle,

    Absolutely love this sight. I was a “watcher” every day for a long time before I became a poster. I didn’t have the time to post as I’ve had for the last few months.

    I will continue to be a grateful reader and will post as often as possible. I, however, have to crimp my posting as my plate is completely full now for the next few months. I’ve decided to go ahead with something major and can’t expect my staff to work hard on this if I’m posting throughout the day. I can’t be that selfish – LOL. I’ll try where possible to get posts in early and if possible late.

    Won’t be any late tonight as I will be at the Leafs/Pens game.

    For those who posted a response or question to me yesterday; I will see if I can now post a response back (if required).

    Again, many thanks Lyle— absolutely love this venue.


    • Hey, Pengy, no worries. The site will always be here when you have the time to comment. Appreciate the support. Cheers!

  5. Good luck with your endeavours Pengy. Always appreciated your respectful, well thought out posts even when we had differing opinions. Hope all goes well for you, and we will see you soon.

  6. On a side note does anyone know where Striker is? Did he disappear into the Matrix?

    • DC, thanks for bringing up Striker. I know some did not appreciate what Striker brought and I think some of the comments made towards him went over very badly for Striker. That is likely why he has left.

      To me, he brought a very strong understanding of the game as well, a very strong understanding of each individual team.
      In my opinion, he brought more knowledge to this board then any other poster. Not saying his opinion was always right but he always presented his opinions with his interpretation of supporting arguments or facts. I hope Striker can find a way to get over some of the adverse comments forwarded his way and get back to posting on this board.

      I will be the first to agree he had more overall NHL knowledge myself although my Leaf specific is likely more thorough. Which is expected as I’m a Leaf fan more than a hockey fan. I think is true for many that support their own teams.

      Striker, hope to see you back.

  7. Can’t say I blame the kid not wanting to sign a long deal that locks him in to his prime earning and potential years for Tyler Bozak type money at an 84 million dollar + ceiling

    • Oh I know because it will sure be sad watching Nylander have to go to a food bank.

    • Gary, the things players do and give up their whole lives that people like us take for granted as well as the sacrifice and commitment the family has made, they deserve as much money as they can get just like we all hope to get as much as we can.

      • I always enjoy your comments Ron, always fair but not this one and that goes for all professional athletes…they don’t have half the things the rest of us peons have to worry about on a week to week basis, everything is taken care of for them and they live like kings…then you have the millions they get paid.

        I have no issue with trying to get as much as they can but when it backfires don’t come crying to me or the media becoming your lot in life because you happened to be the first up to sign a new deal.

      • I think it has more to do with he doesn’t want to be paid a lot less than the others and what he feels he’s worth compared to others when is worth at 26 , 27 years old than it has to do with his lot being up first? Do you go to the movies and complain about actors salaries? like do you consider musicians sell outs? It’s the way of the world like it or not

      • @ Shticky I am nothing if not honest and I do apply it to movie stars and musicians as well, but its now a much longer topic with many more variables that need to be accounted for lol.

        But no I am not the least bit jealous Shticky and really never have been as I am content with my lot in life as a working bee.

  8. The way Toronto has been playing they do not need Nylander , what they need is a young top RH D man. Problem with that is no team wants to part with a player like this unless Toronto overpays.

    • It’s a unicorn hunt, what does it say about how good this elusive top rhd is if his GM was willing to give him up…nvm Nylander if a GM puts a guy in the block there is a reason for it we sit here and pick apart deals here daily saying this and that GM would never give that guy up then when a guy is available like a Faulk we sit here and say he sucks so maybe just maybe there are reasons that for the most part you don’t see young rhd top 4 types that are good traded very often…every team would like their D to be better it’s not just a Leaf problem.

    • I agree with Sheldon, I have advocated a Nylander to Anaheim trade for Ritchie and Manson. The two above mentioned players will be less cap hit than Nylander combined.The trade will also provide the leafs with much needed grit moving forward with their skill.

      • You may not even get Manson straight up for Nylander, let alone throwing in Ritchie. Manson is a very good top 4D at a great cap hit ($4.1M/year) for 3 more years. It could actually be Nylander + for Manson given the extreme price of high end defensemen (especially RD).

      • I agree Van no one is giving a signed guy on a very good contract who plays that many minutes up for any other player if they don’t have a contract nothing against Nylander but why would they do that? Trade a 4 million core piece at this point for a forward who may make twice the money? I dunno if that’s smart no matter who they would be getting outside a few quite frankly I think a guy like Manson on his deal cost alot more than Nylander the way it sits

  9. George O I don’t think Toronto is blinking first at all. I believe they want to sign Nylander it makes this team better. But also believe Nylander won’t get near his ask he is just trying a last ditch try before trading him as a last resort.

  10. Good enough for Kucherov should be good enough for Nylander . I am thinking a bridge will get done .
    They have 43 days to figure it out. Might see some movement in the league between the 10 and 20 game game mark.

    • Good enough for Kucherov and the boat load of others that are pretty much exactly the same situation this shouldn’t be much of a surprise really Benn RoR Johansen Subban Turris Pietroangelo Stepan…Its not the first time a guy has got a very similar deal and not the first or last to be sure to have to hold out because he wasn’t keen on jumping off bridges for millions of dollars less than the market in prime earning years his dad is a pretty respected NHL guy God forbid he acts like a parent to his son and probably pointed that out…he’s seen a contract or 2 and that wasn’t a good one

      • Great post.
        His dad gets ripped apart daily by the Hogtown media, but he knows the business better than all of the guys ripping him.
        I’m in Nylanders corner on this.
        Get what you can, when you can. It could be a short career, cause stuff happens.

      • I am not a football fan but on the way home I was listening to the Radio cover Leveon Bell.
        Apparently he has a hold out going in Pittsburgh and the host said something similar to my post a couple of days ago.
        Nylander is entitled to what he wants but that is way different from the Fan’s needs/wants. No blame should be attached to either side here – us fans have our opinion which is what you are hearing.

        The main differences between the two scenarios is that Bell is a legitimate Hall of Fame talent with numbers to back it up and Nylander is yet to prove without doubt what his true value is. The other being that Bell has already taken contracts at under market value but Nylander isn’t.

        I’d love if he gets something like 3M – 3.5M so I can laugh at him just like I did with Ritchie last night

      • Why does it matter who took cheap contracts? Reminds me of a mom saying if Jimmy jumped of a Clif doesn’t mean you should follow… If it was any other job are you going to aplaud someone for getting taken advantage of? Do you look around your work place and try to think of ways to lose money as an employee? It’s not a few bucks over the course of a 7 8 year deal it’s cgiving MLSE
        14-16 million bucks yeah greedy Kid doesn’t want to save the media conglomerate billionaires millions of dollars

  11. Marleau (6.5), Hainsey (3.0), and Zaitsev (4.5) are all ridiculous contracts.

    Just saying.

    • Hainsey at 3M is more than fair value for what he brings. He is the best PK D on the team – that may not say much but its the best the Leafs got.
      We always attest some value to ‘mentoring’ maybe he does some of that in the locker room too. Either way, he isn’t the issue with the cap and will be gone by the time key RFAs are to be signed.

      Marleau – yes, agreed. I don’t see how Marleau laces up next year for 1M in salary.

      Zaitsev – argh, you got me there.

      • taz…liked your thoughtful post reacting to mine yesterday…I must be the last guy standing that thinks the Zaitsev contract is a good one….

      • I think Zaitsev’s contract will be good in 3 years. The problem is that currently his cap hit is more valuable than the play he brings. I sincerely hope he proves me wrong and plays more in line with his first year’s performance where he blocked a ton and played with an edge.

      • Taz, agree with your Hainsey comments. No issue on my part. I personally am a Zaitsev fan and believe he brings value. Babcock loves Zaitsev and has gone on record to state Zaitsev is a cycle killer and is also a great PK.

        Value is always hard to assess especially on a long term deal. I don’t disagree that 4.5 is on the high side right now but this is only year three and early. So far, have really liked his game this year.

    • Marleau is worth his contract all day long. Even if he never scored a goal in a Leaf uniform, that contract would be worth it. On a team full of youth like the Leafs, a guy who is seen as the very definition of “professional” and “Leader” is invaluable, not to mention what he can teach the kids about staying in shape , considering that even at his age, he’s still seen as one of the best conditioned players in the league. More to hockey than just points, which Marleau has also got his share of since he signed in Toronto…..

      • The problem is that those guys should cost 3-4 million not over 6M. Either way, I have my fingers crossed that he won’t be playing out the last year of his contract

      • Cucumber, it’s the biggest reason the Leafs signed Marleau and quite frankly Haisey. Marleau has been fantastic and I fully expect him to complete his third year next year with the team. Matthews and Marner love him. I think Marleau will be a catalyst in signing both of them to a least somewhat of a team friendly contract. JMO on the contract part.

      • If the Leafs didn’t sign and bring in character players like the aforementioned, they just might be in the same situation as Edmonton.
        RH and PM are worth more than people think.
        Side note: The big Russian kid is a good young player with plenty of upside and a wee bit of snarl to boot.
        Good contract imo.

  12. All these Nylander “update” articles are nothing but glorified cut and paste jobs. There is no update, the situation is exactly the same today as it was yesterday and the day before and the day before that. These guys that keeping writing the “updates” are eitherto lazy to find a real story to work on or arent the “insider” they portray themselves as.

    Outside of Lebronto nobody cares if Wee Willie signs or not.

    • Yes Ron you’re so right. No website, blog, social media, news papers, radio shows, pod casts, etc, etc cares and proof of that is the lack of talk.

      Is it really too hard to not comment on how much you (like many of us) are sick of hearing the same stuff over and over and echoed in the comments? In the old days, we turned the page, easy no?

    • Yeah because if it wasn’t for Toronto I’m sure we wouldn’t be doing the same thing with a different guy there was barley a peep about when it came to Drouin or any other hold out negotiating their contracts

      • Yeah, there was hardly any mention of Karlsson leading up to that SJ trade.

      • Ron is right! ..we in leaf nation are tired of this crap. .if this continues much more longer please buy me a rope. And find me a tree! 😨..a good conversation or update of the many scouts reported at the Calgary/Boston game would of be been interesting! ..who’s available? ..Bennett? Anyway enjoy your day gentleman

  13. Agree sign or trade him already this is turning into a sideshow the Leafs don’t need this right now stay the course get some assets for him and move on

  14. Sometimes (and with good reason) the NHL players seem more like 23 sub-contractors than a team as fans think of it….

    In this business context both management and sub-contractor should be patient…precisely because of how much is being spent….fans are impatient as neither side of the contract is directly their money…

    I am a fan….and I am impatient but other than enjoying my Saturday evenings a little more if the Leafs win or a little less if they lose…I don’t have a dog in the hunt..

  15. I literally haven’t posted in over a year and I get the “You’re posting comments too quickly, slow down” warning LOL
    Anyhow, I really like the idea of dealing with the Ducks (that is if they can make room for Nylander’s new contract).
    They need a replacement for Perry, and Manson or Montour would look great in a Leaf jersey!