(Toronto) As the Toronto Maple Leafs practice session ended, all of William Nylander’s teammates approached him to congratulate him and give him a friendly tap with their sticks. They’ll be teasing him again soon enough.
Nylander has agreed to an eight-year, US$92 million contract extension with the Maple Leafs, the NHL team confirmed Monday. This is the largest contract in Toronto team history in terms of total value, and it includes a no-movement clause.
Rumor of the deal had been circulating for a long time, so Nylander’s teammates had fun at his expense, telling him “you’re welcome” after he had assists on his two goals against the San Jose Sharks, SATURDAY. Defenseman and alternate captain Morgan Rielly also announced Monday that Nylander would be paying for dinners for a while.
“I didn’t do this alone,” Nylander said after practice. “Thank you to my teammates and the coaching staff, to the management, to everyone who believed in me and especially to the city of Toronto too, to all the Maple Leafs fans for their support. »
The 27-year-old Nylander has scored 21 goals and 33 assists in 37 games this season.
Nylander was likely to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2023-24 season, but said he had no interest in seeing if he could get a more lucrative deal elsewhere.
“It’s the longest time I’ve spent in one place in my entire life,” said the Swedish-born player, who was born in Calgary when his father, Michael Nylander, was playing for the Flames.
“It’s funny, the other day I was talking to a friend and I told him “then we’re going home”, referring to Toronto. »
“Without even thinking about it, it was home. »
Quiet in front of the cameras, Nylander is known for his sense of humor in the locker room and on the players’ bench. He also has a keen fashion sense and recently starred in a series of TV commercials in which his family teases him on a video call while he rides the Toronto subway.
Maple Leafs captain John Tavares noted that Nylander’s personality allowed his teammates to tease him as the deal between the two clans was finalized.
“A lot of us have been together for a while, so there’s a strong bond and trust between us and we’re getting to know each other’s personalities, the type of people we are. So it’s definitely a lot of fun to mess around a little bit,” Tavares said.
“It’s obviously a big day for him. He worked very hard to get here. »
With this deal, the Maple Leafs will spend approximately $45.75 million for their “core,” consisting of Nylander, Tavares, center Auston Matthews, and winger Mitch Marner next season.
“It’s very important for me as a player to know that they are really investing in the core, that they are betting on us. I think we see things the same way,” Nylander emphasized.
Rielly is also in the second year of an eight-year contract worth $7.5 million per season.
These five players represent over 60% of the Maple Leafs salary cap. All five have a no-movement clause in their contract.
“There will be a [salary] cap that will increase, but we are not ignoring the fact that there are other areas of our team that we need to improve and we will continue to do so,” the general manager said Brad Treliving.
“I don’t have any bold statements or proclamations to make today other than we signed a very good player. Now we move on to the next step. »
The Maple Leafs have seven other players who could become unrestricted free agents this offseason and four potential restricted free agents.
Nylander was named an All-Star for the first time last season and had career highs with 40 goals and 47 assists.