What are the Toronto Maple Leafs going to do with William Nylander? Sign him by 5pm today, December 1st, 2018, let that time pass and force him to sit out the entire NHL season, or trade him?
The saga might end today, or maybe it doesn’t.
The team certainly could use him, but then again, Kasperi Kapanen has been great in Willie’s spot.
The Leafs could let him sit out the entire season to teach him a lesson? He’s an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so he belongs to the Leafs and just has to agree to the dollars and length of a contract and play, but he wants a lot of money and the Leafs don’t want to pay him a lot.
That’s a problem.
Maybe the Leafs make him sit out.
People keep saying that Willie needs to take the most money he can get because hockey careers are short and he should maximize his earnings and while we might think that’s greedy, and not best for the team, maybe losing the million or so he would have earned this season, plus the $4-5 million that he would have earned had he signed could be money he’ll never get back, especially if he can’t recapture his touch, or produce at a level he thinks he can while playing for the Hurricanes or Coyotes after the Leafs ship him out of town.
Personally, I think he’s got to sit, or go. I think that he’s producing at his rate because he’s skilled but also so is the team, and while he might think he’s comparable to Dreiseitl in Edmonton at $8 million per year, if you were to remove Leon and place him on, say, Arizona, does he produce on his own at the rate he is now? We know that to be a resounding no.
So what happens to Willie after 5pm today if he doesn’t sign, you ask?
Well, he’s only 22-years-old, and has only played in 2 NHL seasons so he falls way short of the 27-year-old / 7-season threshold needed to become an unrestricted free agent (meaning he could then sign with any team).
As for next season… He would still be a restricted free agent (RFA), meaning he would be in exactly the same spot he is in this year, but he would have missed an entire season and not been paid at all.
How about arbitration? Maybe an arbitrator could solve this? Again, no. Willie hasn’t met the NHL requirements of playing 4-seasons, so he is ineligible.
He can be traded at any time, but he can’t then sign a contract until July 1st, 2019 because he’s ineligible to play this season if him and his daddy decide that money takes precedence over everything.
The Leafs are hoping that faced with these options Willie will take their offer. Willie, I’m sure is being told that the Leafs need him (they do and they don’t) and that they’ll cave as the deadline approaches.
If the Leafs cave, what does that say to Marner and Matthew’s agents?
As a fan of the team, I’m positive that there are players on the team who would like to see him moved. No player is bigger than a team – see Las Vegas last season – and his actions at the end of the day may be his right, but they’re selfish.
Sure, the team could trade him at a moment’s notice, blah, blah, blah, but that’s the price you pay for making it to the NHL. You get a ton of money if you’re good. But somehow, if suddenly you suck, the players don’t seem to be offering it back to the team, do they?
Today is put up or shut up time for Willie, but I really feel the damage has been done.