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Holland Talks Complexities of Oilers Extension with Nugent-Hopkins

Ken Holland detailed during a recent interview what’s complicated about his negotiations with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Ken Holland was a guest on Lead Off with Ziggy and Scotty Mac Friday and spoke about a number of topics related to the Edmonton Oilers recent run. The team is 11-2 in their last 13 games and among the hottest teams in the NHL, just a few wins shy of first place. Among the points of discussion was an extension with forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and where the two sides are at.

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Nugent-Hopkins is having another strong season as a winger on the Oilers’ top line with Connor McDavid. He’s got 19 points in 22 games and he’s a highly-useful piece of the team’s overall puzzle. He plays on the first-unit power play, kills penalties and can be moved between center and wing with ease. In the final year of a $6 million per season contract, there’s talk about the Oilers extending him, but a deal hasn’t been finalized.

Speculation is that both sides would like to get a deal done but there’s also growing concern that he’s going to want more than the Oilers are willing to pay and Edmonton would like to keep his yearly salary under $7 million. He could fetch more on the open market.

When asked what factors were contributing to the negotiations, Holland noted that the deal had to work for both sides. The Oilers GM said that he’s been in situations before where he’s paid a bit too much for a player and then it’s handcuffed his ability to do other things down the line. If the team pays too much, “The way the system is built, it makes it hard to compete”, he said. At the same time, he wants to make sure Nugent-Hopkins is comfortable with his salary so that he’s happy to come to the rink every day and perform. “We’ve got to find a solution that works for Ryan and his agent and also for the Edmonton Oilers.”

The Risk Heading Into the Offseason

Holland noted that Nuge was an important part of this team and has been in Edmonton a long time. It will be interesting to see how far apart the two sides are. If Nugent-Hopkins and Holland are a few hundred thousand dollars apart, it shouldn’t be too difficult to come together when all is said and done.

Nugent-Hopkins and McDavid
Nugent-Hopkins and McDavid

What the Oilers don’t want to do is give Nugent-Hopkins the impression that they aren’t remotely willing to work with him on an extension. With the NHL Expansion Draft looming, the best case scenario is for the two parties to have agreed to a deal in principle and then sign it after the draft is over. But, if Nugent-Hopkins feels slighted, he may seek out his options in free agency, which is probably not a good thing for Edmonton.

At the end of the day, it will leave Holland to make a choice. Begrudgingly let him walk or sign him to a deal he’s not comfortable with. Someone is likely willing to pay Nugent-Hopkins $7 million or more on the open market.

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  1. Ron

    February 26, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    Teams are tighten up on the salaries for players. Long term should be in the area of 6.5 million, look at Tkachuk at 7 million and he is not soft.

    • Jim

      February 26, 2021 at 7:58 pm

      I wouldn’t call Nugent-Hopkins soft.

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