Rumor Rundown: Leafs, Red Wings, More Duchene

In today’s Rumor Rundown, we take a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs and the idea of signing William Nylander sooner than later, the Detroit Red Wings and what’s going on with Andreas Athanasiou and a few other notables from around the NHL.

Signing Nylander Now Or Later

TSN insider, Pierre LeBrun was on TSN 1050 talking about how imperative it is for the Toronto Maple Leafs to get William Nylander to a contract extension sooner than later. Teams like the Edmonton Oilers have already been burned by waiting too long — had Edmonton signed Leon Draisaitl last summer, it would have saved the team somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5-$3 million per season — and LeBrun notes that sometimes waiting could cost a team more.

William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs
It’ll cost a pretty penny to catch William Nylander and the Maple Leafs at home during the playoffs. (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Most recently, the Bruins had this happen with David Pastrnak and the Leafs would like to avoid that happening when signing their key free agents to good value deals is critical to their long-term success. LeBrun explained that if a deal can’t be reached right away, Nylander is more likely to want to wait:

Do it now, and do a sensible deal. From Nylander’s perspective, if I had to guess, their camp probably will want to put things on hold once the season starts. In other words, this is a fertile window right now. Once the season starts, I don’t really see them wanting it as a distraction for a young man. They’ll probably want to wait until closer to the end of the year.

A big year from the winger could mean losing a player like James van Riemsdyk when the team has already said they’d like to keep him if they could make the finances work. Darren Dreger believes that the Leafs are already looking at the possibility of moving players.

Holland Trying To Get Athanasiou Done

It is being reported by Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press that general manager of the Red Wings, Ken Holland flew to Toronto yesterday to meet with restricted free agent (RFA) Andreas Athanasiou. There has been no comment on how those talks were going, but most know that Athanasiou is weighing the option of staying in the NHL for lesser money or bolting for the KHL.

(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The speculated offers from the Red Wings camp is as high as a two-year deal for $1.9 million per season, while it appears a one-year offer from Ak Bars of the KHL for $3 million a season is on the table.

Most believe that if Athanasiou wanted to play in the KHL he would have signed by now and the only thing still keeping that league an option is the ability to play in the upcoming Olympics. It is also believed a deal will get done with the Red Wings in the next couple days.

Other Notables

Matt Duchene

Matt Duchene
Photo: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

It should only be a matter of time before the Matt Duchene circus is finally sorted. Chris Nichols is reporting that TSN’s Darren Dreger said on WGR 550 radio:  “I had one Western Conference GM tell me yesterday he thinks a Duchene deal could go down as early as end of this weekend.”

It appears as though the deal will be with the Columbus Blue Jackets and include Ryan Murray. Word is that Murray is already a bit surprised he’s still with the Jackets considering all the speculation about him being included in a trade out of Columbus.

Keeping An Eye Open

Hockey Insider Elliotte Friedman was on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 early Friday for an interview and during his spot mentioned a few names he was keeping an eye on.

Among those noted were Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (who Friedman thinks the Oilers want to keep), Evander Kane, and Rick Nash. Friedman noted how Nash is still a very good player but isn’t going to earn another $7.8 million on an extension with the Rangers. The Rangers had considered moving Nash a couple years ago and they might consider doing so again.