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Nylander says 'no extra pressure or urgency' to sign with Maple Leafs

Restricted free agent confident contract will be done before training camp

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / Staff Writer

STOCKHOLM -- William Nylander was paying attention when forward Dylan Larkin signed with the Detroit Red Wings, but the Toronto Maple Leafs restricted free agent forward said he isn't worried too much about his situation.

"Now that contract negotiations have started you're more aware of what's going on with things like that," Nylander said Thursday during the NHL European Player Media Tour. "Right now, once something like that happens, you're more updated on what's going on around the League, more educated. But once you sign, I don't think you pay attention to that.

"There is no extra pressure or urgency to get something done just because guys like [Larkin] sign."

Larkin, as a restricted free agent forward, signed a five-year, $30.5 million contract Aug. 10. He's 22, the same age as Nylander. Larkin has 140 points (56 goals, 84 assists) in 242 NHL games; Nylander has 135 points (48 goals, 87 assists) in 185 games.

Last season, Nylander had 61 points (20 goals, 41 assists) in 82 games. He can sign a contract with Toronto as long as eight years.

Nylander said he isn't concerned about remaining unsigned this late in the offseason. Maple Leafs players are scheduled to begin medical testing prior to the start of training camp Sept. 13, and he remains optimistic a deal will get done before then.

Maple Leafs first-year general manager Kyle Dubas has preached patience to Nylander regarding his contract situation.

"I've said all along that Kyle wanted to take things slow and I'm fine with that," Nylander said. "They're going back and forth with my agent from what I hear. We'll see what happens. They said it would take a while and I'm still not worried. When it gets done, it gets done."

Negotiations toward contract extensions also are underway between the Maple Leafs and forwards Mitchell Marner, 21, and Auston Matthews, 20. They each became eligible to sign an extension July 1, and each could become a restricted free agent after this season.

Dubas said last month he has a plan in which Nylander, Marner and Matthews could be signed long term. Nylander said he isn't sure how that could be accomplished under the NHL salary cap, especially following the seven-year, $77 million contract John Tavares signed with the Maple Leafs on July 1, but would welcome such a feat.

"I think it would be amazing," Nylander said. "We've been playing together now for a couple of years and having a lot of fun and a lot of success together. It would be a blast to be together for a long time."

With Tavares, Matthews and Nazem Kadri at center, Nylander likely will move full-time to the wing this season. He shifted between center and wing by coach Mike Babcock during his first three NHL seasons.

"I think I'll be on the wing for the next couple of years," Nylander said. "I don't think I'll be going to center unless someone gets hurt, knock on wood."

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