Maple Leafs sign William Nylander to eight-year extension worth US$92 million
Nylander agreed to an eight-year deal with the Maple Leafs worth US$92 million, the NHL team confirmed Monday.
TORONTO — As practice wound down for the Toronto Maple Leafs, all of William Nylander's teammates came over to congratulate him and give him a small tap with their stick.
They'll get back to ribbing him soon enough.
Nylander agreed to an eight-year deal with the Maple Leafs worth US$92 million, the NHL team confirmed Monday. It is the largest contract in Maple Leafs history by total value and includes a no-movement clause.
The deal was long rumoured, so Nylander's teammates had been having a little fun at his expense — something he can easily afford now — saying "you're welcome" after earning assists on his two goals against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday. Alternate captain Morgan Rielly announced Monday that dinners would be on Nylander for the next little while.
"I didn't do this by myself," said Nylander after practice. "Thanks to my teammates and coaching staff, management, everybody that believed in me and especially the City of Toronto too, all the Leafs fans for all the support."
The 27-year-old Nylander has 21 goals and 33 assists through 37 games this season. Toronto selected Nylander eighth overall in the 2014 draft. He has 198 goals and 286 assists over 558 career games with the Maple Leafs with a plus-28 defensive rating.
Nylander was set to become an unrestricted free agent in the off-season but said he had no interest in seeing if he could get a more lucrative contract elsewhere.
"This is the longest I've ever spent in one place in my entire life," said the Swedish player, who was born in Calgary while his father Michael Nylander played for the Flames. "It's funny, the other day I was talking to a friend and said 'then we go home,' referring to Toronto.
"Without even thinking about it, it was home."
Toronto now has approximately $45.75 million locked up in its so-called "core four" of Nylander, centre Auston Matthews, captain John Tavares and star winger Mitch Marner next season.
"It's huge to me, as a player, to feel that they are really investing in the core, betting on us," Nylander said. "I think that we feel the same way.
"That's ultimately why I wanted to stay for eight years. I wanted to give it a run, to try to win the Stanley Cup."
Rielly is also is in the second year of an eight-year contract worth $7.5 million a season. Those five players account for more than 60 per cent of the Maple Leafs' salary cap space.
All five have no-movement clauses in their deals.
Nylander was named an all-star for the first time last season and went on to reach career highs with 40 goals and 47 assists.
The two sides came to an agreement before his current deal, signed in 2018, came to an end.
That deal was the result of a tough negotiation that saw Nylander skip training camp and refuse to play for the team until coming to terms on a six-year, $45 million contract on Dec. 1, the deadline for restricted free agents to come to terms with the team holding their NHL rights.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 8, 2024.
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press