EVERYBODY HAPPY NOW?
Nylander is. Dubas, too. And so are Leafs fans after a 5-3 win over the Wild
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A relieved William Nylander has a message for Leafs Nation.
“I can’t wait to be back,” Nylander said in a phone interview with the Sun, an hour after he signed a six-year contract with the Maple Leafs on Saturday afternoon. “It has been a crazy ride. I wish it would have been done earlier, but I’m very happy to be back with the best fans in the league. I’m very excited.”
Nylander is expected to travel to Toronto on Sunday and re-join his teammates soon after. When he plays in his first game remains to be determined, but there’s little doubt the 22-year-old star winger has been buoyed by the Leafs’ success in 2018-19, which includes 18 wins in their first 26 games prior to playing the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
“I think it’s amazing,” Nylander said. “I can’t wait to get on the ice with them and start playing games. It has been crazy watching them from home. They are dominating every game. It’s amazing to see the guys step up. It’s what great players do.”
It will be a happy Nylander who returns to Toronto. The contract, with an annual average value of slightly over $6.95 million US, is good for both sides. The term of six years especially gives Nylander some peace of mind.
“That was something I wanted,” Nylander said. “I didn’t want a bridge deal. I want to stay in Toronto with all the players that we have and we have a great team.
“I didn’t want to risk it by signing a bridge deal and not being able to stay, if that was going to happen.”
Nylander indicated the past few days were somewhat nerve-wracking as the deadline of 5 p.m. on Saturday loomed, though he knows the at-times tense negotiations are part of the business.
“It was a learning process for sure,” Nylander said. “I never thought it would take this long to come to a deal and that it would go down to the last whatever it was, five, 10 minutes before the deadline. That was an experience for sure I will never forget.
“Everything worked out good for both sides, so there is nothing to be bitter about. You want to be playing from the beginning of the season, but things happen for a reason and I am just so happy that it’s over.”
Maple Leafs’ William Nylander tweeted a picture of his hockey bag shortly after his new deal was announced.