Is the contract a Nylander problem or a Leafs front office issue?

I’ve heard the question posed in many circles in the last few months. Many people will point to front office and say “well they signed John Tavares with the contract of William Nylander looming, that tells me this is not a Nylander issue”. I’ve also heard it put the other way, some analysts and GM’s are saying “well, Nylander is asking for way too much money and won’t even bargain, he’s just not worth 8 million.”

I finally want to put this rest and use some statistics to back up if William Nylander is worth 8 million a season. So let’s take a look.

In Nylander’s last season with the Leafs he ranked…

109th in goals

59th in assists

66th in points

59th in points per 60 mins

32nd in Primary assists

He’s not trusted at center because he’s not defensively responsible

You may ask why are some of these even matter in the grand scheme of a contract dispute. Well let me explain a bit. Goals, assists, points are fairly self explanatory most contracts are bargained off of these. But it’s the last 3 that make for intriguing points.  Point per 60 mins shows consistency in a players game, by determining how much they score every 60 minutes their on the ice you can begin to establish what you will be getting for your contract. Primary assists determine if the player (primarily playmakers) is the primary contributor on the team or if he plays a large role in getting his players the puck. Primary assist show the plays ability to get the puck to his teammates effectively. Defensive play majority of teams hold this in high regard, they just don’t want a guy they can stick on the powerplay or a guy that only gives everything in the offensive zone. They want players who will chase other players down when losing puck battles.

Nylander is demanding 8 million a year because in his words he doesn’t want to be left behind when Matthews and Marner sign big contracts. He has also said he believes his play on the ice warrants 8 million. Let’s take a closer look at some comparables and see what they make.

So 4 players made 8 million last season those names are…

Phil Kessel who scored a whopping 92 points, 3.60 point per game, 1.33 goals per game and 2.27 assists per game. 40 of his 58 assists were primary. Since joining the Pens Kessel has improved his defensive play but still struggles at the best of times.

Brent Burns – Do we really need reasons to justify why Brent Burns is better than William Nylander? I guess so.  Burns had 67 points, 1.94 point per 60 minutes, 0.35 goals per 60 mins and 1.59 assists per 60 mins 30 of his 50 assists were primary and Burns is one of the top defenders in the league. Perspective is needed here defencemen vs forward.

Joe Thornton – only played 47 games accumulated 36 points. 2.51 point per 60 and 11 of his 23 assist were primary. 1.60 assist per 60 mins and 0.90 point per 60 mins.

Ryan Johansen – Has a very injury riddle season last year but put up 54 points last season.  2.21 point per 60 mins, 0.61 goals per 60 mins, and 1.60 assists per 60 mins. Of his 39 assists 17 were primary.

Johansen would be the only comparable but he has a track record to prove he’s having an off season.
Others who were up there close to 8 million or just over are Ryan Getzlaf, Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, & Victor Hedman.

All this stats work to say this… Nylander is asking for top 30 money but only putting numbers justifying being paid like a top 50 or 60 player. So the question is, Is this Leafs management trying to be cheap or Nylander trying to be greedy?

I think the Stats and players mentioned above show that Nylander’s demands are much much more then he deserves according to his own numbers.


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