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Scribe Raises Questions Over Nugent-Hopkins Value to Oilers

What is the value of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Is he worth more to another team that he is to the Oilers and could that create contract issues?

Asking, ‘What if Ryan Nugent-Hopkins doesn’t sign with the Oilers?’, NHL and The Athletic Journalist Allan Mitchell got more than a few fans in Oilers Nation talking on Thursday. Thanks to a headline that suggests there’s some speculation Nugent-Hopkins and the Oilers might be having contract extension issues, his article takes a closer look at the player’s value in and outside of Edmonton.

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Saying that signing Nugent-Hopkins is an on- and off-ice priority for the Oilers, Mitchell writes that “the team has a budget, the cap is flat and will be for years to come and the suddenly productive prospect pipeline means men like Kailer Yamamoto, Ethan Bear and others will be seeking big contracts in the years to come.”

What does that all mean when it comes to a possible Nugent-Hopkins extension? Well, Mitchell adds that the going rate for the player around the NHL market will be $7 million by seven seasons. That’s the marker the Nugent-Hopkins camp is likely looking for, but not necessarily where the Oilers want to be in terms of what they spend. Mitchell uses Brendan Gallagher’s recent $6.5 million six-year extension as a comparable, but suggests Nuge and his agent are looking for more than that.

What Is Nugent-Hopkins Worth to the Oilers?

Noting that Edmonton may want to shave some dollars off his extension, Mitchell writes that Nugent-Hopkins arguably holds more value to another team than he does to the Oilers. They have him playing on the wing instead of at center. He’s a ridiculous power play quarterback, but the Oilers already have a few of those. On another team, Nuge would be a massive part of their offense, whereas in Edmonton, he’s simply a contributing piece to a puzzle that has a couple bigger stars.

But, let’s not forget that, at the end of the day, Nugent-Hopkins is a very talented player. The Oilers need penalty killers and Nugent-Hopkins can do that. They need top-six wingers and Nugent-Hopkins certainly is one when he’s not a center. They need leaders and players that want to be there. Nugent-Hopkins fills all of these boxes.

If Nugent-Hopkins is going to get $7 million times seven years on the open market, and even in a Covid summer, the Oilers should find a way to get there, if not as close as humanly possible.

This is not a player you want to lose. And, of course, the longer this goes on (even if the Oilers are waiting until the expansion draft comes and goes), the more fans in Edmonton will worry something might not get done.

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