William Nylander expresses desire to stay with Maple Leafs, but he's in no rush

The Toronto Maple Leafs winger spoke about how he'd like to stay with the team beyond the 2023-24 season on Wednesday.

If William Nylander's own words are anything to go on, the 27-year-old isn't particularly stressed about his contract situation.

Although his current deal expires at the end of the 2023-24 campaign, when Nylander spoke to the media at the NHL European Player Media Tour in Stockholm on Wednesday, he seemed at peace with where he's at.

"For me, the contract, obviously, I want it to work where I can stay there and be there," he said. "There's no other place I want to play, but I still have one more year left. I don't understand why there's such a big rush to do something right now."

He reiterated his preference for staying with the Maple Leafs saying "I want to be in Toronto as long as I can", but he also made it clear contract negotiations weren't a top priority for him at the moment.

"It would be fun if it would be done, but it's not like that's where my focus is at," he said. "I'm just ready to have the best season yet — and that will take care of itself when it's ready to happen. I'm not worried about it."

Although it's worth contemplating if there's a performative element to Nylander's nonchalance in the face of uncertainty, the winger seems to be in a good spot.

William Nylander is exuding nonchalance when it comes to his contract negotiations. (Gavin Napier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
William Nylander doesn't appear to be stressed out by his contract negotiations. (Gavin Napier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Maple Leafs might have to worry about their future salary cap structure and whether it makes sense to trade Nylander if they feel confident he'll walk in free agency — but he doesn't need to share in any of those concerns.

Nylander has already secured one lucrative contract in his career. Coming off two consecutive 80-point seasons he will undoubtedly earn yet another following the 2023-24 season, even if his production dips or he encounters injury trouble (within reason). He also has a 10-team no-trade list, so if Toronto moves him he can be confident he'll avoid the NHL destinations he finds least desirable.

Should the only team Nylander has ever known make him an offer he sees as fair, that also seems likely to work for him. If they don't, he can be confident there will be a robust market for his services elsewhere.

It's impossible to know precisely how much staying in Toronto would mean to Nylander. That's something we'll get a sense of when his next contract is signed — and according to the veteran scorer, there's no urgency on that count.

All we know for now is that Nylander is confident enough to enter the last year of his contract without the security of an extension. Based on his relative youth and recent production, that seems like a reasonable position to take.