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Oilers and Nugent-Hopkins “Grinding to Find Common Ground”

Multiple reports note the Edmonton Oilers and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ camp are back to negotiating an extension. What’s the hold up?

According to a few sources, the Edmonton Oilers and the camp for forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have started talking again in an effort to negotiate a contract extension. Among those that have reported the update, Elliotte Friedman notes, “Edmonton and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are grinding to find common ground.”

Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal adds, “Contract negotiations have resumed between G.M. Ken Holland and Rick Valette, the player agent for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.” He adds, “Logic would dictate Holland being open to some additional term in exchange for an AAV that the G.M.’s budget can more easily manage.”

Between the two comments, one by Leavins and the other by Friedman, what we can gather from this is that the hold up for the Oilers and Nugent-Hopkins is finding an acceptable term length on a deal that brings the annual average salary down to a level the Oilers are comfortable with. Speculation is that the Oilers are no longer willing to spend upwards of $6 million per season but that perhaps Nugent-Hopkins still thinks he’s in that range. It’s the middle ground the two sides have to find.

What’s More Important For Nugent-Hopkins?

Leavins explains that sometimes the term of a deal is more important than the money for a free agent. In the case of this particular player, he’d like to stay in Edmonton but the team needs to save some of their money for other assets in an offseason where there could be considerable turnover. Does Nugent-Hopkins want to stay in a situation he knows, not risk starting fresh somewhere else, or would he be find being part of that changeover?

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Oilers

When it comes to term, adding an extra year or two has its advantages for the Oilers. The plus is that the NHL will probably be dealing with a flat cap for a while. When the numbers start to creep back up, should the Oilers get Nugent-Hopkins on a fair deal per season with some bonus money paid up front, he’s a tradeable asset at that time and to teams that have room, but don’t right now.

The minus is that the longer the term, the more the risk Nugent-Hopkins isn’t as productive an asset as he ages. Getting him done around $5.25-$5.75 million looks ok now, but how does it look when he’s 33, 34 and 35 years old?

Don’t Let This Get Away From Either Side

The hope here is that coming back to the negotiating table will allow both sides to figure something out here before the next step of Nugent-Hopkins exploring the market takes place. Once he starts looking to other teams to see if there’s a good deal out there, he just might find one.

At that point, the Oilers can only hope they made the offer they were most comfortable with and that they were willing to walk away from the player if a better offer presented itself.

Next: Dougie Hamilton Not the Flyers Top UFA Offseason Target

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