William Nylander’s agent and the Toronto Maple Leafs have been struggling to come to an agreement regarding the worth of the Swedish winger. It is currently November 29th and if this isn’t figured out by 5 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 1), Nylander will have to sit out the remainder of the season. The Leafs haven’t been cheap with Nylander either, offering him an annual salary of over 6 million which is comparable to players around the league with similar point production. However, Nylander has been set on receiving 8 million and has not shown much in the form of budging. This begs the question of whether professional athletes play a sport for enjoyment or financial reward.
William Nylander is 22 years old and playing supposedly the game he loves, in one of the hockey meccas of the world. My guess is, if you asked most young hockey players how much they would need to be paid to do the same, they would probably laugh and say they would do it for free. However, this type of occurrence happening time and time again with young professional athletes consumed by how much they are making is making me question that. Nevertheless, maybe there is another side to the coin and Nylander is just basing his decision on the greater picture rather than on a childhood dream. Maybe Nylander is very aware of the fragile state of a professional athletic career, given the potential for injuries and struggles to stay in shape. Furthermore, Nylander possibly feels that his salary has to equal the toll hockey can have on his health and is holding firm because he values his well being over his dream and doesn’t want to sell it to profit-hungry organizations at a substandard price.
The bigger question, then, is whether Nylander’s decision is based on a deep conscious decision involving the quality of his life, or whether it is tied to capitalistic greed and the influences of a money-oriented society.