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By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

Let’s set the scene. Your favourite NHL team keeps every single asset that they have right now but you have to make one big decision – David Pastrnak or William Nylander. Who do you choose? Which player are you going to build your future around? Before you tell me (via Twitter), the article will be my reasoning for my decision on the same exact dilemma.

One of the biggest storylines in the National Hockey League right now is the current contract situation of Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander. Nylander’s entry-level contract expired this past offseason, but the 22-year-old failed to agree on a new contract with the Maple Leafs.

Due to his restricted free-agent status, Nylander remains apart of the Maple Leafs organization but is ineligible to play for the team until a new deal is agreed upon. As you may already know, if Nylander does not sign a new contract by December 1st, 2018, then he will not be able to play for the remainder of the 2018-19 NHL regular season – a huge blow to a Maple Leafs roster. (It is fair to note that at the time of writing this article, Nylander has not yet signed a deal. If he has and you’re reading this – you know why I’m saying what I’m saying.).


PHOTO CREDITS: (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Throughout the season so far, but especially throughout the month of November, rumours have been flying everywhere about what the Leafs should do with this situation. Trade ideas with the Carolina Hurricanes, among other teams, were running ramped at one point in time to where it seemed like a trade was going to get finalized – but nothing came about.

Of course, the dream for Toronto fans is for Nylander to re-sign with the organization on a team-friendly contract. One player that has been often named as a possible comparison is Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak. As the article goes on, the importance of this contract comparison will be looked at more in depth – so continue reading if you so wish to.

With only a couple days until the deadline, Maple Leafs fans are restless as they await the update of William Nylander – be it a trade, re-signing, or that he will be losing out on the entire season. So, just to enjoy the time of this whole event now, let’s compare Nylander to a Bruin that is often compared to him – David Pastrnak.

Basic Information – Draft Selection, Position, Height/Weight, etc.

TOR William Nylander – 22-years-old, Center, Right-handed shot, 6’0″, 191 pounds, 8th Overall (1st Round) 2014 NHL Entry Draft by Toronto Maple Leafs

BOS David Pastrnak – 22-years-old, Right-wing, Right-handed shot, 6’0″, 194 pounds, 25th Overall (1st Round) 2014 NHL Entry Draft by Boston Bruins

Physically, both Pastrnak and Nylander are very similar to one another. At the beginning of his young career, Pastrnak lacked the size deemed necessary to be effective in the NHL. Not long after, Pastrnak got in the gym and worked on gaining muscle – bringing his weight to just under the 200-pound mark.

Both players are right-handed and were drafted in the opening round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. If for some reason you base your player decision on basic information such as this, then there is no clear favourite at this point.

Personal Statistics – Goals, Assists, Points, etc.

David Pastrnak began his NHL career in the 2014-15 season, the year right after he was selected by the Bruins in the NHL Entry Draft. While only playing in 46 games that season, (also played twenty-five games with the Providence Bruins in the AHL, producing 11-17-28 totals in the timespan), Pastrnak still managed to score ten goals and seventeen assists for twenty-seven points.

Following another year with less than thirty points, Pastrnak exploded for seventy points, 34 goals and 36 assists, in only 75 games played during 2016-17. In the postseason, Pasta would add yet four points in the six-game series against the Ottawa Senators. In 2017-2018, Pastrnak once again set a career-high in goals, assists, and points, scoring thirty-five goals for eighty points in a full 82-game season. Pastrnak also had a fire lit underneath him in the playoffs, scoring 6-14-20 totals in twelve postseason games.

With the twenty-eight points that Pastrnak has in twenty-four games to start this season, it brings his career totals to 113-118-231 in 278 career games. Also, Pastrnak’s nineteen goals (as of November 27th), accounts for 28.4% of Boston’s total goals all year long – the highest percentage in the entire league as of the twenty-seventh.

David Pastrnak: 278 GP – 113G – 118A – 231P – 0.83PPG 

Unlike Pastrnak, Nylander started his NHL career in the 2015-16 season. During the 2014-14 campaign, Nylander spent time with MODO Hockey in the SHL and then played 37 games with the Toronto Marlies, the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate team, scoring 14-18-32 totals. Nylander scored another forty-five points for the Marlies in the ’15/’16 season, allowing him to play in only 22 NHL contests that season.

2016-17 was the first season where Nylander was full-time – playing in 81 games, scoring 22-39-61 totals in those games. William matched that exact point total during the eighty-two games last season, only putting up twenty goals but forty-one helpers. As we know, Nylander has not yet played with the Maple Leafs this season which may end up being something looked upon negatively later on as his career progresses into the future.

William Nylander: 185 GP – 48G – 87A – 135P – 0.73PPG

At face value, David Pastrnak has more goals, more assists, and more points with a better points-per-game average throughout his career than the Maple Leaf forward. Pastrnak has back-to-back 70+ point seasons while Nylander has back-to-back 61-point seasons. It is fair to note that Nylander was not getting top-line minutes with the best players in Toronto like Pastrnak has with Bergeron and Marchand in Boston. However, I give the advantage to David.

NHL Games Vs. Each Other’s Teams

TOR William Nylander Regular Season – 9GP – 4G – 2A – 7P +4 Rating

TOR William Nylander Playoffs – 7GP – 1G – 3A – 4P -3 Rating

Nylander’s best performance against Boston came on February 4th, 2017 in Boston. Nylander scored his first, and only to date, hat-trick in a 6-5 victory over the Bruins.

BOS David Pastrnak Regular Season – 13GP – 10G – 6A – 16P Even Rating

BOS David Pastrnak Playoffs – 7GP – 5G – 8A – 13P +1 Rating

Pastrnak has had some great performances against Toronto already in his career, but the best has to be on April 14th, 2018 in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Pasta scored his first career hat-trick in the playoffs while also assisting on three other goals, bringing his point total to six in the 7-3 crushing win over Toronto.

Already this season, Pastrnak has another three-goal game against the Maple Leafs, coming only a couple weeks ago on November 10th, 2018.

Contract Situation

On September 14, 2017, David Pastrnak and the Boston Bruins agreed to a six-year, $40 million contract worth just under $6.7 million for every season until the 2022-23 campaign. In the final two seasons, (2021-22, 2022-23), a modified no-trade clause comes into effect, meaning Pastrnak will have to submit a list of ten teams that he cannot be traded to.

At the time of the contract signing, Pastrnak’s new cap-hit was 8.89% of the cap ceiling. I mentioned that throughout this time of rumours, Nylander’s contract was often compared to Pastrnak. Should Nylander get paid more or less than Pastrnak? Does the cap-hit percentage play a difference due to the salary cap raise over the past few years? These questions headline – and continue to headline the thoughts on William Nylander.

In my opinion, when Nylander does sign an NHL contract, even if it is not with Toronto, he will most likely make more money per season than Pastrnak, however, the cap-hit when the contract was signed will be lower than Pasta’s 8.89%. When asked if he was upset that he signed the contract with Boston when he did, Pastrnak gave this answer:

“If you asked me when I was 15 years old if I was going to be playing for $6 million a year when I’m 22, I would be like, ‘I don’t think you’re saying the truth.’ It’s just dream come true for me. I’m happy for what I’m getting. I could be playing in Czech, right? For a couple hundred bucks a month. So I’m really happy,” Pastrnak said.

From the statistics and just watching the two players play, David Pastrnak is the better player and deserves more money annually.

Final Verdict

The time has indeed come. If I had the impossible chance to choose between David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins or William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs to lead my team into the future, I am clearly going with the Czech Republic native – David Pastrnak. 

Pastrnak is the better player overall. The way the play, skate, score and the number of points that each player has accumulated so far in the National Hockey League. However, both of their career’s are just beginning and a whole lot can change ten years from now, but at the current stage of their development, David Pastrnak is the clear-cut winner and those who cast their vote on my Twitter poll a few days ago largely agreed.

Speaking of which, make sure to follow my Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj) for daily NHL updates and polls such as this one! Let me know what you think about this Pastrnak vs Nylander topic, I’d love to know what you have to say!

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