Perhaps it’s not great news, but it’s also not a reason to panic. At least, not yet. That is, the Edmonton Oilers and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have stopped talking about a contract extension and the winger will go into his final season with the Oilers earning $6 million but with questions left to be answered.
Ken Holland spoke with the media on Monday and provided updates on the team, including officially noting that Oscar Klefbom was out for the upcoming NHL season, that the team was hoping to get Ethan Bear signed right away to join the team at training camp, and that the Oilers will play teams like Vancouver and Calgary 10 times each in 2020-21.
Perhaps among the biggest long-term news, Holland detailed the status of negotiations with Ryan-Nugent Hopkins and said talks have broken down. He still wants the player to stay, but they may resume talks after the season gets under way.
“His agent Rick Valette and I have had many conversations the two weeks right around October the 9th.” Saying they talked a couple of weeks before free agency and the week after, Holland added:
“The marketplace has changed so much, that, basically our conversations have ended and I would hope that at some point in time here, once we get up and running, we can pick up and see if we can find a solution.”
He reiterated that his hope is to find a solution to “keep Nuge in an Oiler uniform.” But, he added that the deal has to work for Ryan and the deal has to work for the Oilers.
So Now What?
Now, we wait. The Oilers have seen what the market is paying forwards and wingers of Nugent-Hopkins caliber and they also know that they can’t overspend with another flat salary cap on the horizon.
There’s also the NHL Expansion Draft and if Nugent-Hopkins isn’t signed at that time, there is a risk he can negotiate with Seattle, but the Oilers wouldn’t have to protect him as one of their forwards. That’s something — if both sides knew they wanted to get a deal done — that could benefit Edmonton at the expansion draft.
In the end, it seems like a deal will get done, but this is the first time that Holland sounded a bit uncertain about being able to make things work at a number that could help the Oilers move forward.
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