Alex Nylander to become UFA after being non-tendered by Columbus

Photo credit:David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
13 days ago
Despite a highly productive run with the Columbus Blue Jackets to close out the 2023-24 season, forward Alex Nylander is not expected to receive a qualifying offer from the team as a pending RFA.
Nylander, 26, is the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs star William Nylander, who was drafted two years before Alex went to the Buffalo Sabres with the No. 8 overall pick in 2016.
The Blue Jackets originally acquired the younger Nylander from the Pittsburgh Penguins in February in exchange for Emil Bemstrom and a conditional 2026 sixth-round pick. Nylander proceeded to score 11 goals and 15 points in 23 games with the Blue Jackets down the stretch.
Despite this, the Blue Jackets appear to be ready to move on from Nylander instead of tendering him a one-year, $813,750 contract to retain his exclusive signing rights. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and The Athletic‘s Aaron Portzline shared the news on Nylander to social media on Sunday afternoon.
Nylander made his NHL debut with the Sabres in 2016-17 after spending the previous season with the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads. The Calgary-born Swede appeared in just 19 games with the Sabres over parts of three seasons before being traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenceman Henri Jokiharju.
In 2019-20, Nylander appeared in 65 games with the Blackhawks and collected 10 goals and 26 points. He was held scoreless in eight playoff games with Chicago that year. But he never played in another game with the Blackhawks after that and was subsequently flipped to Pittsburgh in January 2022 in exchange for Sam Lafferty.
Nylander skated in 14 more games with Pittsburgh over the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons. He was named an AHL All-Star with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2023 but struggled to break into the NHL lineup under head coach Mike Sullivan.
Through 121 career NHL games over parts of six seasons with the Sabres, Blackhawks, Penguins, and Blue Jackets, Nylander has collected 25 goals and 49 points. Unless the Blue Jackets re-engage in contract discussions with Nylander and his camp before noon E.T. on Monday, he’ll be able to hit the UFA market and negotiate with all 32 teams — including the Maple Leafs.

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