The door for negotiations remains open between the Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander, with TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reporting the two sides have had dialogue as recently as this weekend.
LeBrun noted that it's unclear whether the negotiations will lead to a breakthrough before Dec. 1 - the deadline for Nylander to sign in order to play this season.
TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger told First Up on Monday morning that the Leafs aren't ready to trade Nylander, but they're keeping their options open as the clock moves closer to the deadline.
“Not a lot, just more speculation that the possibility of trade is clawing towards reality,” Dreger said on TSN Radio 1050 Toronto. “Now, that’s not to suggest there’s firm reason to believe he will be traded. It’s just the timing and the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs have to do their due diligence to make sure that they’ve got every scenario fully prepared if they’ve got to make a move.
“Not having William Nylander play isn’t an option, and it’s surprising still to me – and we haven’t hit the 11th hour yet, it’s creeping close to that with Dec. 1 looming – but it’s surprising to me that frankly the player hasn’t taken more control of this process.
“Now, again, we don’t know officially what the numbers are. I’ve got to believe that the Toronto Maple Leafs have come up. Have they gone beyond $6.5 [million] annual? Don’t know that.
“But you guys just mentioned David Pastrnak coming into this segment. The Maple Leafs have felt all along that they weren’t comfortable getting up to the David Pastrnak number at just over $6.7 million. I think we can understand why.
“And again, in fairness, David Pastrnak – when he signed that deal, that extension with the Boston Bruins – I mean, the Bruins took some heat for signing him to that deal, which is absurd. And now it looks like Boston has got great value, and perhaps a bargain in David Pastrnak, given the way he played last year and he’s playing this year.
“But all of that being said, whatever the negotiation is – is it ongoing, is it stalled – what we know is that the Toronto Maple Leafs are at least more aggressively looking at trade options. I wouldn’t say they’re in negotiations to make a trade, but they’re at least lining up teams – maybe even players and assets – if they’ve got to pull the trigger.”
The two sides once appeared to be progressing towards a deal after general manager Kyle Dubas travelled to Switzerland for a one-on-one meeting with Nylander on Oct. 17 and Dubas was spotted in New York speaking to Nylander's agent the following weekend, but things seemed to have gone cold over the past weeks.
As of last month, the 22-year-old was believed to be looking for a salary above $8 million on a long-term deal, while the Maple Leafs reportedly countered with an offer around $6 million. Nylander has missed the Leafs' first 17 games of the season and the team will play game No. 20 on Friday.
Toronto is 11-6 without Nylander this season and sit second in the Atlantic Division.
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun said last week the Carolina Hurricanes are among the teams who are interested in acquiring Nylander, who scored 20 goals and posted 61 points a year ago.