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UNDRAFTED

Some Fair Contract Comparables to William Nylander

Willy's getting paid

The Toronto Maple Leafs have sailed well past the July 1st buoy without William Nylander or Auston Matthews signed to extensions. While Matthews had made it clear that his intention is to stay in Toronto if the money’s right, William Nylander has said no such thing.



As most fans know, Nylander and the Leafs remain far apart in contract talks, with Nylander’s camp valuing him at over $10 million while the Leafs seem to be stuck somewhere around $8 million.

With this in mind, let's go over some players comparable to William Nylander in recent years, and attempt to find his value.



In 2022-23, Nylander was one of the league’s highest-scoring wingers, putting up 40 goals and 87 points in 82 games. Just eight wingers tallied more points than him, and seven scored more goals. He certainly deserves a raise from $6.9 million, but by how much?



Let’s start with the players that did score more than him, and are undoubtedly worth more money per year.



David Pastrnak led NHL wingers with 61 goals last season and has recently signed an extension that will pay him $11.25 million per year. Nylander won’t get anywhere near that kind of money, especially considering what his teammates Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews are making. He remains the Leafs' third-best forward and a great one at that.



He’s also not the same player as a guy like Nikita Kucherov, who was tied with David Pastrnak for most points by a winger last season with 113. Nylander has a career-high of 87 points, simply not comparable to Kucherov, who makes $9.5 million AAV.



At the end of the day, Nylander’s ask for over $10 million seems to be a highball. It’s been reported that he’d be willing to take less than market value to stay in Toronto, so what would a deal like that look like?



Some wingers that are far closer to Nylander in production are Kyle Connor and Alex Debrincat.



Over the past three seasons, Kyle Connor has scored 104 goals and 119 assists for 223 points in 217 games played. That’s an average of 35 goals, 40 assists, and 74 points per season. Nylander over that same span has scored 91 goals and 118 assists for 209 points in 214 games played, giving him a very similar average of 30 goals, 39 assists, and 70 points.



The two players are nearly identical production-wise, play the exact same position, and are just seven months apart in age. All things considered, they should be paid roughly the same.



Kyle Connor currently makes $7.142 million per year.



Alex Debrincat is another winger with almost identical numbers to Nylander. In his past three seasons, he’s scored a picture-perfect 100 goals and 100 assists for 200 points in 216 games played (yes those are the actual numbers), giving him an average of 33 goals, 33 assists, and 67 points per season. Again to Nylanders 30 goals, 39 assists, and 70 point averages over the same span.



Debrincat just signed a four-year deal worth $7.875 million annually.



These comparables make it hard to consider Nylander a ten-million-dollar player, or even a nine-million-dollar player for that matter. It’s also worth noting that the Leafs are already two million dollars over the cap with both Jake Muzzin and Matt Murray on LTIR, meaning they need to pinch pennies wherever they can.



With this information available, I would expect Nylander’s extension to come in somewhere just over eight million, and still below eight and a half AAV.

Dave Felsbourg

Saturday, August 5, 2023

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