William Nillander and Toronto Apple Leafs will finally know about the future of the future ahead of 5 am. ET Saturday.
Niallander, a 22-year-old free agent, has to sign up to that deadline set in the NHL / NHLPA collective agreement to play in the NHL this season.
He can sign with Maple Leafs, or with another team if Toronto replaces him before the deadline.
"At this point, we really can not do anything, if he signs, he signs, great. If not, we will go on", protected by Toronto Morgan Riley said after a petition in Minnesota. "Obviously, I miss Willie, but that's what it is. We will be here tomorrow night, with or without him."
Niallander, who had 61 points in each of the past two seasons with Toronto, has since September co-operated with the AIK of the Swedish Hockey League, said AIK Sports Director Anders Goti for TV4 in Sweden.
Video: NHL Roundtable discusses William Nulander
Toronto coach Mike Babcock recently said he believed Nicklander would sign with Maple Leafs. On Friday, Babcock said he had spoken to Nullander on several occasions this season.
"We do not ask anyone to be a leaf, it's not at all," Babcock said after an open-air exercise before their game against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday (7am ET, CBC, SN1, FS-N +, NHL. TV), two hours after the expiration of Niallander's deadline. "It is a privilege to be here for me and for someone else".
If Nullander signed, Babcock said he believed he would be ready to play in a short order.
"Willy is a good player, he's in great shape, he has excellent edges and he can skate," said Babcock on Wednesday. "I have no reason to think anything, but I just believe that Willie likes him here, we love him here, and he's a big part of him. We think he's back and we think he'll be running for weeks, but we will we play it when it comes back. "
Toronto (18-8-0) is second in the Atlantic Division; has 36 points, one behind Tampa Bay Molling (18-7-1). Without Nylander, and with the center Austin Matthews missing 14 games with a shoulder injury before returning Wednesday, "Maple Leafs" were third in the NHL with 3.58 goals per game, behind Colorado Lavina (3.80) and Lightning (3.73).
If the deadline passes and Nullander does not sign, he will remain a limited free agent who will enter this offseason, which starts on July 1, 2019 and when Matthews and forward Mitchell Marner can also become limited free agents.
"I do not know if you (my) think that we are following your tweets and things, but we are not." Sorry, "said Riley." It's not something we're thinking about. It's not even something we're really talking about. If he's here for a few days, then great, if not, then we're in the same position we are right now and we feel good about it. "
NHL correspondent Jesse Pierce contributed to this report