Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the first-overall draft pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and he became a member of the Edmonton Oilers. He hit the ice skating and played regularly with the team during the 2011-12 season, scoring 18 goals, 34 assists, and 52 points in 62 games.
He’s not really stopped performing and has been a steady player for almost the past decade with the team. In fact, over the last two seasons, Nugent-Hopkins has scored 50 goals and 130 points in 147 games.
The 27-year-old forward has one more season on a $6 million contract, and there’s noise that he and the team are making progress towards a long-term contract extension. Just this past week, TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported that, although a deal isn’t near to being complete, there’s been positive developments.
It’s probably a good time to get a deal done if the Oilers hope to keep Nugent-Hopkins in the fold. He could become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020-21 season.
Holland Notes that Signing RNH is an Oilers’ Priority
Today the Oilers general manager Ken Holland was clear about his intentions. He believes signing Nugent-Hopkins to a contract extension is a top priority for his team. His reason was simple:
“Nuge is a really important player on our team. My goal is to hopefully have Nuge here for a long time and find a solution on an extension.”
Creating and rewarding loyalty is a priority for a winning culture. Nugent-Hopkins is Edmonton’s longest-serving player and he’s still producing. On top of that, he’s flexible and fits in well in a number of different ways on the team. Not only is he a good defensive player, but he’s close to being a point-a-game player. For example, last season he scored 22 goals and 61 points in 65 games.
That’s certainly quality secondary scoring for the team. Nugent-Hopkins compliments the great Connor McDavid (who tonight it was reported tested positive for COVID-19) and Leon Draisaitl who was the 2019-20 winner of both the Ted Lindsay Award and the Hart Trophy. The Ted Linsdsay Award is especially prestigious because it is voted on by one’s fellow players.
Nugent-Hopkins Wants to Stay with the Oilers
That the Oilers want him makes sense, because the feeling is mutual. Nugent-Hopkins wants to remain with the Oilers, his agent Rick Valette noted:
“Ken (Holland) and I have had solid discussions and I think we understand one another. I don’t know if this goes to July 1 (free-agency in 2021), or if it gets done before. I know Ryan’s been a really loyal guy with the Oilers, he’s entrenched in the community and it appears the Oilers are on the way up, all important factors.”
As I noted early in this post, TSN’s Seravalli reported that the Oilers and Nugent-Hopkins have made progress in their mutual contract talks. Valette added that term is an important factor for Nugent-Hopkins, who’s still young but who wants to stay “home” with the team.
It’s Good to Get a Deal Completed this Offseason
Although there’s really no need to rush into the contract, still it helps everyone involved if there’s some clarity going forward. I have to believe that when a team gets tight they want to stay and play together. And, because the Oilers are trending upwards in the team’s pursuit for a Stanley Cup, that has to be attractive for the team’s entire core of players.
Ergo, I think there’s sufficient will to get a deal done during this offseason. Oilers fans might want to watch for such an announcement during this offseason. (from “Nugent-Hopkins wants to remain with Oilers, but at what price?” Jim Matheson, Edmonton Journal, 02/10/20).
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