Will the Toronto Maple Leafs sign William Nylander to a bridge contract?
William Nylander with 42 goals and 80 assists in 163 NHL games, plus two goals in 13 playoff games, a decision needs to be made. The season begins in four weeks. Decision time is upon us.
You can make a pretty good guess that he’s going to consistently score 25 to 30 goals over the next seven to 10 years. But he might be a 40-goal shooter, and he might also ultimately be a centre, not a right winger, which could substantially alter his value.
So this screams out for a short-term bridge contract, right?
Which brings us to Nylander. Of the seven players taken before him, only Aaron Ekblad and Leon Draisaitl have hit big salary numbers. Sam Bennett and Jake Virtanen — neither the player Nylander is — got bridge deals because they had no bargaining power.
Nylander has bargaining power, and he also knows that Winnipeg winger Nik Ehlers, taken eighth in that draft, signed a seven-year, $42-million contract extension last October that kicks in this season, and that he and Ehlers are pretty similar players.
At $6 million per season, it seems like a good deal for Winnipeg and a tad low for Nylander. But not if it was just for the next two years and he could renegotiate after that, for substantially more. So maybe the bridge deal could be very good for him, too.
New York Islanders have interest in Artemi Panarin
Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen was engaged in trade talks involving Panarin around the NHL Draft in late-June and in early-July, though those discussions have not yet bore fruit.
According to multiple sources close to the organization, the Fourth Period reports the Islanders have Panarin high atop their wish list and have had talks with the Blue Jackets dating back to June.
Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello has been looking to acquire an impact player this off-season and with management back in the office, he’s expected to continue his attempts at exploring the market.