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Leafs’ Sweden trip would be perfect place for a William Nylander extension

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Photo credit:Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
James Reeve
3 months ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs are in Sweden and it would be the perfect place to announce a new long-term extension for forward William Nylander.
The Super Swede has been in stellar form for the Leafs so far in 2023-24, recording 10 goals and 22 points while currently on a 15-game, franchise-record-setting point streak to start the season. It’s clear he deserves a long-term deal, with his current contract expiring in the summer, and the team’s trip to Sweden could be the best time to make it happen. While born in Calgary, Alberta courtesy of his father’s playing career, Nylander has always held true to his Swedish heritage and is one of the stars for Team Sweden on an international level. He played for teams such as MODO and Rögle in the Swedish leagues prior to being drafted eighth overall in 2014, making the jump to the AHL halfway through the following season and the NHL a year later. Since then, Nylander has been a key component of the Leafs’ roster, making up part of the ‘Core Four’, and in the last couple of years has truly elevated his game to an elite level.
Now, on a 121-point pace to begin the year, Nylander is playing arguably the best hockey of his entire career and the opportunity to impress friends and family back in his home country deserves something extra special. He’s has already spoken about the number of tickets he needed for the games in Sweden, with the added note that his grandmother will be able to see him play for the very first time. He has been soaking up the spotlight since the team arrived in the country, attending the premiere of the docuseries dedicated to Leafs legend and Swedish trailblazer Börje Salming.
The feel-good factor is high with Nylander right now. He’s in his homeland, he’s about to play two important NHL games in front of friends and family in a place that holds a special place in his heart, and he’s playing lights-out for the Leafs. Of course, figuring out how much Nylander should get on his new deal is closely watched by many and will be the deciding factor on how soon anything can be done, but with so little in the way of reporting on any negotiations could something have already been agreed with the express purpose of announcing it officially during the Global Series trip? Any announcement would be welcomed by fans of the team, but the setting would make the moment doubly important and memorable.
In addition, it could be made in conjunction with any honouring of Salming that could come prior to either of the team’s two games there. He was a pioneer for European players moving over to the NHL, becoming the first successful player to do so, leading the way for fellow Swedes and other Europeans to follow suit. Honouring someone that Nylander has great respect for, and then following it up with securing his long-term future as a Leaf, would be a memorable moment and mean far more than just dollar amounts and would show Nylander exactly how much he is valued by the team.
It would be a heartwarming story and would see Nylander, who has been much maligned at times during his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, rightfully rewarded for his elite play and years of service for the team.

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