Rick Zamperin: Kyle Dubas and William Nylander continue to play chicken

The clock is ticking a little louder each day for the Toronto Maple Leafs and restricted free agent William Nylander.

If the Leafs forward does not end his holdout and sign a new contract by Dec. 1, he will be ineligible to play in the NHL this season.

Might I remind everyone that Dec. 1 is a little over two weeks away.

Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has stood firm with an offer that is reportedly $6 million a season while Nylander’s camp has apparently asked for an annual salary of $8 million.

That $2 million is a wide divide considering the mega deals that Dubas still has to craft for superstars Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner before their current contracts expire next summer.

The last thing Dubas wants, especially after he promised this offseason that he could and would sign all three players, is to overpay the 22-year-old Nylander and then try to shoe horn Matthews and Marner into a situation that forces them to hold out.

With the deadline looming, Dubas is feeling the pressure to do something but I don’t think it will include sweetening the pot.

Dubas is charting a course to retain all of Toronto’s top talent in the hopes of being a perennial Stanley Cup contender for years to come.

If he can get a favourable return in a trade, like a top pairing defenceman, Dubas might just make it happen.

It would not only improve Toronto’s defence corps it will also send a message to the league, and his team, that he’s willing and able to play hard ball.

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