The Edmonton Oilers have worked things out with one of their key unrestricted free agents, signing Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to a new eight-year contract. The deal will total $41MM, meaning Nugent-Hopkins will actually see his cap hit decrease to $5.125MM for 2021-22 and beyond. The deal also includes a full no-movement clause, meaning the Oilers will be required to protected Nugent-Hopkins in the expansion draft. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic tweets out the full breakdown:
- 2021-22: $5.0MM salary
- 2022-23: $5.25MM salary
- 2023-24: $6.25MM salary
- 2024-25: $6.25MM salary
- 2025-26: $4.0MM salary + $2.0MM signing bonus
- 2026-27: $2.25MM salary + $2.5MM signing bonus
- 2027-28: $2.5MM salary + $1.25MM signing bonus
- 2028-29: $ 3.75MM salary
There was an obvious compromise in these negotiations, with the Oilers handing out a maximum-term contract in exchange for a smaller cap hit. There’s no doubt that Nugent-Hopkins could have secured a higher AAV on the open market, but with a deal like this, he’ll be able to spend most, if not all of his career in Edmonton.
The 28-year-old forward was the first-overall pick in 2011, selected just ahead of Gabriel Landeskog and Jonathan Huberdeau in what has turned out to be quite the impressive draft class. While other names like Nikita Kucherov and Johnny Gaudreau from outside the first round have found a little more success, it’s certainly not like Nugent-Hopkins was a bust. In 656 NHL games, all played with the Oilers, he has scored 185 goals and registered 478 points. A 20-goal, 60-point season has become routine, even if his ceiling has never been as high as some hoped.
Of course, it’s the lack of playoff success that will haunt everyone in Edmonton if this group can’t make significant progress in the next few years. In his decade with the team, Nugent-Hopkins has played in just 21 postseason games, and four of those came in last year’s bubble qualification round. He has just three goals in those 21 matches and has won just a single round.
That’s exactly why the lowered AAV was a desirable outcome for the Oilers, even if it does take Nugent-Hopkins deep into his thirties. The Oilers need to immediately surround Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl with as much talent as they can, something that will be a little easier now. Nugent-Hopkins’ last contract carried a cap hit of $6MM over seven seasons, meaning even the total of this one is slightly lower.
Overall, it’s a nice contract for both parties and will likely keep one of the team’s key forwards in Edmonton for the better part of his career. Oilers GM Ken Holland now has several other extensions to work on, including pending UFA defenseman Adam Larsson.
Ryan Rishaug of TSN broke the details of the contract earlier today.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
8 years is too long. Albatross.
500k more a year & 2 years less would of made more sense.
I honestly thought he’d end up in Seattle next year. But he clearly enjoys his role.
I was ready to hate this deal, but that’s a team friendly AAV for a pretty useful player.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a mistake overall…they should have traded him for some help on D.
But, since they didn’t…between signing him to a nice deal and losing him for nothing, this is slightly better.
The oilers have a plethora of defenseman…maybe not as good as we’d like but we need a top six winger more than a defenseman.
They should have traded him for D help seasons ago. I remember he was always linked with a swap for Jonás Brodin or Matt Dumba
You can win with average wingers…especially when you have great centers. Only Jim Rutherford can win without a number one D man. 2006 and 2017 are the only times it has happened in the cap era.
Eight years is too much. Wait, that’s already been said. Well put, #6, agree with that. Albatross. Again, spot on, unfortunately. It has the appearance of Ken Holland going back to the loyalty contract junk. RNH is a good guy in the locker room and excellent in the community, but has never achieved face-off dominance because of a sub 50 FO% for his career. The organization has had a bad time of trying to get guys to be much better on the dots, but can’t acquire or develop them. Too much puck chasing is a bad thing. Maybe this is a setup for a trade soon…
To make over $80M over your career playing hockey in one place, not too bad. I’d say he did well in the long run.
What a nice 10 year anniversary gift
Honestly this isn’t bad at all. Sure, eight years is too long. But 5 million in eight years is going to be like 3 million today. Normally these deals are awful for teams because they have to give the length and the AAV, so saving one is a plus for Edmonton.
I think people just see max years and instinctively shudder nowadays. I think this is a good deal tho. You got a line mate of one of your superstars and a former first overall pick, in his own right, locked up at a cap hit that’s almost a million less than you were paying him previously. Yeah it’s 8 years. He’ll be 36 by the end of the contract. It’s hardly a certainty he’ll stay productive but in sports we’ve seen much more dangerous contracts. Within a couple of years the cap will begin to rise again. This contract very well could look better and better and even more team friendly as time goes on. Hate on it if y’all want but it’s seems like a good safe deal for both parties.
Guys at RHN’s age don’t IMPROVE. When four years from now the Oilers are paying that kind of cash for middle-six production, and there’s a serious cap crunch: because think about it. How much will Yamamoto cost? And good grief, how much will Barrie cost? How much will Nurse cost next year? Because as of right now, they only have eight NHLers under contract for 2022.
Fans are shuddering at max term contracts now because we’re seeing how very many of them are albatrosses. Most of these giant deals come back to bite the team.
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“The Oilers need top 6 forwards!”
They resign the top center on the market.
“What are they doing?!?!?!”
Is he the first NHLer to reach a deal that stretches to 2029?
According to capfriendly, yes.