Nylander mum on contract talks – participates in Smashfest VII

Sporting a summer beard, William Nylander exchanged his hockey stick for a ping pong paddle as one of over twenty NHL players to take part in Smashfest. The annual tournament, hosted by Dominic Moore, entered its seventh edition having raised over $665,000 in support of concussion and rare cancer research.

A restricted free agent, Nylander deferred all questions about his contract negotiations to his agent and to Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas. However the 22-year-old Leafs forward indicated a preference to signing a long-term deal as opposed to inking a bridge deal normally offered to players upon expiry of their three-year entry level contracts.

“Of course I want long term, that’s what I want to do,” Nylander told a gathering of reporters at Toronto’s Steam Whistle Brewery.

As for his facial hair, growing more liberally with the departure of renowned beard-loather Lou Lamoriello, Nylander said he would wait until the fall to decide on whether to bring out the razor. “(I’ll keep it) during the summer. We’ll see what happens once the season starts,” Nylander said.

Patrick Eaves of the Canucks won the tournament for the fourth time in the seven-year history of the event.

Friday, August 3 update: Wednesday’s event hit a record-best fundraising year with over $200,000 raised, bringing the seven-year total to over $865,000.