During an interview on Oilers Now, Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland spoke with host Bob Stauffer and discussed his free agency moves and plans moving forward. When asked about a contract extension for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Holland didn’t beat around the bush and say anything other than he was fully committed to getting something done.
When Stauffer talked about how popular the player was in Edmonton what Nugent-Hopkins had contributed to the team in his past two seasons — back-to-back 60 point campaigns, well-rounded game, defensive center and special teams expert — Holland said, “Well, he’s popular with me too.” He added, “We’ve had lots of conversations.”
Holland made no bones about wanting to get a deal done and said he’s already spent hours with Nugent-Hopkins’ agent Rick Valette. Holland said, “I’d like to keep Ryan. I’d like to find a solution that works for Ryan and for us.” He noted that Nugent-Hopkins is looking for term on his next deal and he admitted that what Holland did in free agency might affect what Nuge feels about this team going forward.
The hint was that in being a team that competes and adds good pieces, Nugent-Hopkins won’t be shy about sticking around. It’s well known he likes the city and has a desire to stay, but like any player, if the Oilers aren’t competitive, that factors in heavily to a player’s decision.
What Is Nugent-Hopkins Worth?
The financials of the deal could be what takes time. Surely, both sides would be committed to sticking together for six, seven or eight seasons. It’s the annual average salary that might complicate things.
Not only are there comparables and some of those may be relevant based on the flat salary cap and lower revenues, but the Oilers have questions about their cap. Money will come off the books next season, but there are contracts for players like Kailer Yamamoto that need to get done. If Tyson Barrie has a strong season and wants to talk extension, surely the Oilers would entertain doing so. And, of course, the Oilers will have hit the goaltending market again.
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