Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: Seven more years

Jonathan Willis
September 19 2013 02:11PM

 

The Edmonton Oilers announced on Thursday that they had signed centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to a seven-year contract extension.

The cap hit - $6 million per season - matches those of Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. By signing those two players to $6 million/year contracts, the Oilers established a benchmark for both Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and, presumably, Nail Yakupov one year from now.

Some will doubtless question the dollars involved here - particularly with Nugent-Hopkins coming off a difficult half-season - but the fact is that the 2011 first overall pick has scored at a level in the NHL that can make the Oilers feel very comfortable with his long-term upside:

Like Tyler Dellow, I tend to think that a bridge contract was never a likely outcome here. Not only that, but a bridge contract is a way to defer when a player is paid and minimize risk. In the case of the Oilers, it makes no sense to pay less now so they can pay more later, and in the case of Nugent-Hopkins the risk is minimal - this wasn't a late pick surprising, this is a guy with a track record of performance that made him first in his draft class and got him into the NHL at 18, and then saw him produce in the world's toughest league at an age when many future stars are still back in junior.

This is a good player to bet on. The money is a little steeper right now than it would be in a perfect world, but this has the potential to be a bargain contract relative to performance very soon. Given that Nugent-Hopkins has a year left on his entry-level contract, this new pact might turn out to be fair value from day one. By the end of this deal, the terms should be excellent value for the team.

Nail Yakupov's contract is now a fait accompli, meaning the Oilers will have four forwards at the cost of $24 million. Some will lump Justin Schultz in with that group; he may or may not get the same deal but he hasn't earned it today - with one year left on his entry-level contract, 2013-14 is shaping up to be a very big year for Schultz. 

Recently around the Nation Network

First, a quick reminder: StreakCred is free for the pre-season - sign up to win not only real money but also something far more valuable: NationGear. 

Earlier this week, the Winnipeg Jets locked up general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff for two more years. At Jets Nation, Travis Hrubeniuk explains why that's a little odd:

I think I speak for almost everyone when I say that the timing of this is a little weird. No, not that it was announced in the middle of training camp just over two weeks from opening night, but because of the state of the team. Kevin Cheveldayoff has been in control of the Winnipeg Jets for just over two years now. Admittedly, they have been two very peculiar years, but he has had two years nonetheless, and little has truly changed in this team's overall standing. Yet, despite there still being three seasons remaining on his contract, TNSE has decided that his moves to this point have been sufficient enough to warrant an extension?

Click the link above to read more, or feel free to check out some of my recent stuff below:

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 OilFanInVan
September 19 2013, 02:12PM
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Boom!

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#2 EHH Team
September 19 2013, 02:13PM
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Hot Damn!!

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#3 Batfink
September 19 2013, 02:15PM
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Nuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge!

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#4 D
September 19 2013, 02:17PM
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A long term core. A very good way to build a business.

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#5 brian_d
September 19 2013, 02:19PM
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Here's to hoping the salary cap continues to go up.

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#6 bazmagoo
September 19 2013, 02:19PM
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I'm a huge fan of Nuge and really think he's got the potential to be the best player of them all. Great!

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#7 freelancer
September 19 2013, 02:21PM
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The pessimist in me wishes we could've seen how he plays post surgery. But the rest of me is stoked to have him locked up. NUUUUUUUUGE

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#8 pkam
September 19 2013, 02:23PM
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Should lock him up for 8 years.

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#9 oilerjed
September 19 2013, 02:23PM
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Has this kind of contract negotiating been done before? Similar dollars and term? That team koolaid that is being passed out must be the sh!t. If Yak signs for 6 mil long term as well, we could have this core here until almost 2020! And having them spaced out by a few years gives room for manuevering later on.

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#10 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 19 2013, 02:27PM
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Best news of the day.

Locking the core in is magic for this team.

Years of bliss ahead.

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#11 The Towel Boy
September 19 2013, 02:28PM
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Quality dollars. Quality term. Quality player. Quality. Lots of it.

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#12 Dino
September 19 2013, 02:33PM
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Wow, awesome!

Hopefully he gets to celebrate by wearing his favorite Batman pj's and an extra helping of milk and cookies before bed! Heck, while you're at it, you might as well let the little guy stay up to watch Big Brother.

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#13 Mikey
September 19 2013, 02:33PM
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So what will Justin get? And I pray that the cap keeps going up.

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#14 bazmagoo
September 19 2013, 02:38PM
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Mikey wrote:

So what will Justin get? And I pray that the cap keeps going up.

I have a feeling Justin gets a bridge contract like a lot of young defenders seem to be getting these days. Two years at 3.5 million, keeps him RFA at the end of the two years. Just a hunch.

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#15 hallsyoilerforever5
September 19 2013, 02:39PM
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I bet the canucks fans are mad over this. Oh look, Nuge is from B.C! He will bolt to Vancouver because he's born there! Hahahaha, great to see Nuge with the oilers for years to come.

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#16 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
September 19 2013, 02:41PM
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By my math, RNH will be just shy of his 21st birthday by the time this new contract expires. By then he should just be entering the prime of his career.

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#17 Mikey
September 19 2013, 02:42PM
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I wonder if the oilers are banking on Nurse and Klefbom to make the team full time next year.

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#18 Hayek
September 19 2013, 02:44PM
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Ok deal, but after last season, would have been nice to get him at a discount, maybe something in the $5.5M per season range.

Probably not the greatest negotiation on MacT's part, but once Eberle was signed to an overpayment of $6M/season, RNH probably wouldn't settle for less.

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#19 pkam
September 19 2013, 02:49PM
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Hayek wrote:

Ok deal, but after last season, would have been nice to get him at a discount, maybe something in the $5.5M per season range.

Probably not the greatest negotiation on MacT's part, but once Eberle was signed to an overpayment of $6M/season, RNH probably wouldn't settle for less.

Not a good idea in my opinion. You're basically saying he is not as good as Hall and Eberle. That 500K/year saving is not worth to piss off your 1st line center for the next 7 years.

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#20 Supernova
September 19 2013, 02:51PM
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Hayek wrote:

Ok deal, but after last season, would have been nice to get him at a discount, maybe something in the $5.5M per season range.

Probably not the greatest negotiation on MacT's part, but once Eberle was signed to an overpayment of $6M/season, RNH probably wouldn't settle for less.

fair point,

do you think it is worth trying to get him on a slightly cap hit, but have him feel the lesser player and slighted for a long term deal.

If the Oilers weren't comfortable at $6 million per year, the next best option was the 2 year bridge deal.

not $5.5 for 6 or 7 years.

Simply not worth the off ice implications.

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#21 jake
September 19 2013, 02:51PM
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Out of Yak, Eberle, Hall and RNH, if one goes Scott Gomez on you, well 3 out of 4 aint bad.

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#22 DSF
September 19 2013, 03:02PM
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This contract and the Schultz/Yakupov deals to follow pretty much signifies the Oilers window to win a cup will be very soon and very short.

If Schultz gets, say, $5M and Yakupov gets $6M (both very likely IMO), Petry gets $3.5M and Dubnyk gets $4M, the Oilers will need to have many players on ELC's just to get under the cap in 2015/16.

If those numbers above are close to accurate, the Oilers will have about $55M committed to the cap with only 12 players under contract.

If James Mirtle's salary cap projections for 2015/16 are accurate, the cap will be around $66M.

That means the Oilers will only have $11M to sign another 11 players.

That dog won't hunt.

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#23 tileguy
September 19 2013, 03:09PM
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Speaking of Sportsnet, I hope they trash that picture in picture of the player leaving the penalty box. It covered up Marincin leaving the box and I'm still wondering why he didn't have a clear cut breakwawy.

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#24 Craig1981
September 19 2013, 03:12PM
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I am amazed at how everyone on the TSN comment box is slamming this signing.

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#25 hallsyoilerforever5
September 19 2013, 03:13PM
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@DSF

You're talking about a window of a winning a cup to end soon? I think you forgot to add in your canucks.

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#26 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
September 19 2013, 03:14PM
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hallsyoilerforever5 wrote:

You're talking about a window of a winning a cup to end soon? I think you forgot to add in your canucks.

I don't often defend DSF's comments, but I think his comment is a fair one.

Additionally, the Canucks' window closing has nothing to do with the Oilers' window.

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#27 DSF
September 19 2013, 03:14PM
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hallsyoilerforever5 wrote:

You're talking about a window of a winning a cup to end soon? I think you forgot to add in your canucks.

Were they under discussion?

Try and stay on point Sparky.

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#28 rubbertrout
September 19 2013, 03:19PM
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SMILES FOR BABY NUGE!

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#29 Young Oil
September 19 2013, 03:20PM
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Craig1981 wrote:

I am amazed at how everyone on the TSN comment box is slamming this signing.

It's not very surprising, the TSN comment sections have some of the least intelligent people I have ever seen! Oiler fans who have seen Nuge in every game over the past 2 years know that this is a great contract.

I'd rather have RNH, Hall and Eberle for $18M rather than Perry and Getzlaf for $17M.

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#30 pkam
September 19 2013, 03:20PM
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DSF wrote:

This contract and the Schultz/Yakupov deals to follow pretty much signifies the Oilers window to win a cup will be very soon and very short.

If Schultz gets, say, $5M and Yakupov gets $6M (both very likely IMO), Petry gets $3.5M and Dubnyk gets $4M, the Oilers will need to have many players on ELC's just to get under the cap in 2015/16.

If those numbers above are close to accurate, the Oilers will have about $55M committed to the cap with only 12 players under contract.

If James Mirtle's salary cap projections for 2015/16 are accurate, the cap will be around $66M.

That means the Oilers will only have $11M to sign another 11 players.

That dog won't hunt.

If I am correct, the cap is for 23 players, not 25. So if the Oilers commits 55M for 12 players, we only need to sign 11 (not 13) more players, with the remaining 11M.

Now let's look at the Penguins, consider a cup contender with the best GM. Here is the players they lock up for 2014-15 Crosby 8.7M Malkin 9.5M Neal 5.0M Dupuis 3.75M Kunitz 3.725M Martin 5.0M Letang 7.25M Scuderi 3.375M Fleury 5.0M Total 51.3M

How much is the cap James Mirtle projects for 2014-15, 64.3M? The pens have commit 51.3M on 9 players, so how are they going to sign 14 players with 13M if the Oilers can't sign 11 players with 11M?

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#31 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 19 2013, 03:31PM
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The cap is a very real impediment on GM actions. But like a sonnet or a haiku, imposed structure can breed creativity.

EDM isn't in any trouble with the cap going forward. Having really good high paid players is what every team wants. Yes, it means you have to be careful with the pursestrings wherever you can, but it is hardly a death sentence.

Today's signing means two things: this team is committed to winning with this core it paid so dearly to acquire and the GM is going to have to be creative down the road to fill out the roster.

Welcome to the big boy pants part of the world. It's good to be here. This is a great day.

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#32 Manfly
September 19 2013, 03:32PM
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DSF wrote:

Were they under discussion?

Try and stay on point Sparky.

the Canucks can be mentioned here if any poster desires to do so. is there a law against it? and you know he's right, that's why it bugs you so much...

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#33 Mikey
September 19 2013, 03:33PM
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pkam wrote:

If I am correct, the cap is for 23 players, not 25. So if the Oilers commits 55M for 12 players, we only need to sign 11 (not 13) more players, with the remaining 11M.

Now let's look at the Penguins, consider a cup contender with the best GM. Here is the players they lock up for 2014-15 Crosby 8.7M Malkin 9.5M Neal 5.0M Dupuis 3.75M Kunitz 3.725M Martin 5.0M Letang 7.25M Scuderi 3.375M Fleury 5.0M Total 51.3M

How much is the cap James Mirtle projects for 2014-15, 64.3M? The pens have commit 51.3M on 9 players, so how are they going to sign 14 players with 13M if the Oilers can't sign 11 players with 11M?

Only thing to say to that is.... The Pens are screwed too!

You bring up a very good point. I am going to take a look at cap geek and see how other teams are set up.

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#34 Manfly
September 19 2013, 03:34PM
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Craig1981 wrote:

I am amazed at how everyone on the TSN comment box is slamming this signing.

one poster mentioned that if it were the other poster's team that signed one of their star players to this type of contract, they'd be jumping up and down....they're just jealous.

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#35 Ducey
September 19 2013, 03:35PM
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@DSF

First, its tough to believe the cap will only go up $2 million in 2 years.

Second, if it doesn't go up then you can always trade someone.

If the cap does go up a significant amount (it certainly will over the next 7 years) then its a steal of a deal.

Capgeek says that they are at $36 million for 8 players (Hall, Perron, Nuge, Ebs, Smid Ference, Gordon, Gagner).

Add Yak at $6, Schultz, Petry and DD at $4M each, thats another $18 M and a total of $54 M for 12. $13M for 13 guys is certainly possible when you have your top 12 locked up.

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#36 michael
September 19 2013, 03:39PM
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The cap will be closer to 70 million.The HRR is going come from the increase in TV revenue from the new contracts that the NHL will be signing with NBC and fro HNIC. The HNIC contract will be massive. The bidding will be most likely begin at the 200 million dollar a year mark. The HNIC contract with CBC currently has an exclusivity clause. It may be more open moving forward. But if it isn't you can guarantee that whoever wins the bid will pay bigtime to the NHL for that exclusivity. The CBC's biggest money AD maker comes from HNIC. To give that up would be crushing. Either way the league wins and the players win and the salary cap goes up.

Yak gets 40 goals and this whole 6x7 goes out the window and we'll be looking at probably 5x 7. DD will not get more than 4.5 on any of his contracts even if wins a CUP. Not going to happen. Ever.Teams have learned from the Roberto Luongo deal and the Depietro and Bryzgalov deal where their money needs to be spent.

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#37 DSF
September 19 2013, 03:39PM
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pkam wrote:

If I am correct, the cap is for 23 players, not 25. So if the Oilers commits 55M for 12 players, we only need to sign 11 (not 13) more players, with the remaining 11M.

Now let's look at the Penguins, consider a cup contender with the best GM. Here is the players they lock up for 2014-15 Crosby 8.7M Malkin 9.5M Neal 5.0M Dupuis 3.75M Kunitz 3.725M Martin 5.0M Letang 7.25M Scuderi 3.375M Fleury 5.0M Total 51.3M

How much is the cap James Mirtle projects for 2014-15, 64.3M? The pens have commit 51.3M on 9 players, so how are they going to sign 14 players with 13M if the Oilers can't sign 11 players with 11M?

Sorry...typo there corrected before your post showed up.

I agree the Penguins are in a similar situation and Shero has been very adept at filling out his roster with low priced options.

But remember he had to move Jordan Staal to make things work.

Also worth noting that Hopkins is NOT Crosby. Hall is NOT Malkin and Eberle is NOT James Neal.

But even with those players on board, the Penguins have not a won a cup since 2008/09 and haven't made it back to the finals since then.

I think you could make a pretty strong argument that the reason for that is that their support players are not good enough and Pittsburgh doesn't have the cap space to do anything about that.

A better comparable would be the Blackhawks who have their top players all below the Kane/Toews $6.3M contracts and an excellent group of young forwards playing on ELC's.

Even then, the Hawks are going to hit a cap crunch in the 2014/15 season when they have almost $60M committed to only 14 players.

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#38 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 19 2013, 03:44PM
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@DSF

"Also worth noting that Hopkins is NOT Crosby. Hall is NOT Malkin and Eberle is NOT James Neal."

What's the cap hit difference for those players in 15/16?

5.2M

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#39 madjam
September 19 2013, 03:45PM
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Another value contract with longevity . Going in right direction .

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#40 Papamike
September 19 2013, 03:50PM
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All this math hurts my brain. I just wish my boys played hockey instead of soccer or baseball.

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#41 Wax Man Riley
September 19 2013, 03:53PM
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Hayek wrote:

Ok deal, but after last season, would have been nice to get him at a discount, maybe something in the $5.5M per season range.

Probably not the greatest negotiation on MacT's part, but once Eberle was signed to an overpayment of $6M/season, RNH probably wouldn't settle for less.

SALMA HAYEK I KNOW YOU ARE HOT AND MIGHT BE A BIT MAD BECAUSE YOU ARE GETTING OLDER BUT I'M SURE BABY NUGE WOULD STILL DATE YOU, I AM SORRY EBERLE TURNED YOU DOWN FOR WANYE.

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#42 DSF
September 19 2013, 03:53PM
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Ducey wrote:

First, its tough to believe the cap will only go up $2 million in 2 years.

Second, if it doesn't go up then you can always trade someone.

If the cap does go up a significant amount (it certainly will over the next 7 years) then its a steal of a deal.

Capgeek says that they are at $36 million for 8 players (Hall, Perron, Nuge, Ebs, Smid Ference, Gordon, Gagner).

Add Yak at $6, Schultz, Petry and DD at $4M each, thats another $18 M and a total of $54 M for 12. $13M for 13 guys is certainly possible when you have your top 12 locked up.

People keep forgetting that the cap this season is artificially high.

The only reason is that it was negotiated that way in the new CBA so a ton of players weren't going to get thrown out of work.

Based on HRR and the players share dropping to 50%, the cap should be around $60M this season, not $64.3M.

Mirtle is projecting the cap to stay flat for the 2014/15 season (because under the CBA it can't drop below that figure) and then start rising.

One caveat on his projections is that they were based on the Canadian dollar at par but, in reality, it is now trading at 97 cents so they may be somewhat optimistic.

So, using a baseline of $60M, if the cap rises to $66M in 2014/15, that's significant.

Here's the article if you want a closer look.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/globe-on-hockey/how-the-nhls-salary-cap-could-hit-90-million/article7029575/

As for your last point, $13M is NOT adequate for 13 guys unless you have just a ton of quality players on ELC's.

Given that Nurse would have a cap hit of $1.775M and Klefbom $1.244M, that would only leave $10M for 10 guys.

Players like Belov, Grebs and Larsen all run you more than $1M per

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#43 Walter Sobchak
September 19 2013, 03:56PM
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@DSF

Not to jump on you, but did you not make the almost exact argument for the Minnesota Wild?

IIRC you argued a lot that the cap will go up at more than the rate you mentioned above.

I may be wrong, but I’m not sure that I am? However, I am too lazy to go looking up a rather pointless disagreement.

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#44 DSF
September 19 2013, 03:57PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

"Also worth noting that Hopkins is NOT Crosby. Hall is NOT Malkin and Eberle is NOT James Neal."

What's the cap hit difference for those players in 15/16?

5.2M

But the Oilers are not the Penguins, not even close, and the Penguins can't seem to win a cup having their team so top heavy in salaries.

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#45 pkam
September 19 2013, 04:01PM
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DSF wrote:

Sorry...typo there corrected before your post showed up.

I agree the Penguins are in a similar situation and Shero has been very adept at filling out his roster with low priced options.

But remember he had to move Jordan Staal to make things work.

Also worth noting that Hopkins is NOT Crosby. Hall is NOT Malkin and Eberle is NOT James Neal.

But even with those players on board, the Penguins have not a won a cup since 2008/09 and haven't made it back to the finals since then.

I think you could make a pretty strong argument that the reason for that is that their support players are not good enough and Pittsburgh doesn't have the cap space to do anything about that.

A better comparable would be the Blackhawks who have their top players all below the Kane/Toews $6.3M contracts and an excellent group of young forwards playing on ELC's.

Even then, the Hawks are going to hit a cap crunch in the 2014/15 season when they have almost $60M committed to only 14 players.

Shero didn't move Jordan Staal to make things work. He offered 6M for 6 years to Jordan but Jordan turned it down.

If Shero signed Jordan Staal, he probably won't be able to sign Neal.

Bottom line is, most cap spending team spends about 80% on their top 6 forward, top 4 defense and starting goalie.

Not just the Pens and the Hawks, you can look at the Wilds, Hurricanes, NYR, Flyers, etc. If about a dozen of cap spending team can do it and several of them have won a SC, why do we think it will be a problem only for the Oilers?

I agree Hall, Eberle and RNH are not Crosby and Malkin, but any one of them will be at least as good if not better than Neal.

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#46 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 19 2013, 04:02PM
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@DSF

Mirtle is giving a conservative estimate, with growth at 5% per year, while noting growth during the past CBA averaged 7.2%.

Either way, it's not a problem, but we should acknowledge he is already projecting a conservative estimate and it is probably more likely to be rosy than bleak going forward.

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#47 DSF
September 19 2013, 04:02PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Not to jump on you, but did you not make the almost exact argument for the Minnesota Wild?

IIRC you argued a lot that the cap will go up at more than the rate you mentioned above.

I may be wrong, but I’m not sure that I am? However, I am too lazy to go looking up a rather pointless disagreement.

It is somewhat of an issue for the Wild but they (once Heatley is gone) will only have 3 players making more than $5M.

If Schultz and Yakupov get what I expect they will, the Oilers will have 5 players north of $5M with Gagner almost there at $4.8M.

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#48 Darrell
September 19 2013, 04:05PM
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DSF wrote:

This contract and the Schultz/Yakupov deals to follow pretty much signifies the Oilers window to win a cup will be very soon and very short.

If Schultz gets, say, $5M and Yakupov gets $6M (both very likely IMO), Petry gets $3.5M and Dubnyk gets $4M, the Oilers will need to have many players on ELC's just to get under the cap in 2015/16.

If those numbers above are close to accurate, the Oilers will have about $55M committed to the cap with only 12 players under contract.

If James Mirtle's salary cap projections for 2015/16 are accurate, the cap will be around $66M.

That means the Oilers will only have $11M to sign another 11 players.

That dog won't hunt.

Oilers will be stacked long term and can trade anyone at anytime to ease cap issues. Imagine Sedins at 8 each plus Loseongo and its the same story but you will think its great cause you hate the Oilers! Sedins cant win in the playoffs as they are pussies and your #1 goalie was in playoff mode last night. I hope it feels good getting us fired up as that's all your good for around here as the Canucks and WILD FA signings are a JOKE compared to the team being built here ....

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#49 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 19 2013, 04:05PM
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DSF wrote:

But the Oilers are not the Penguins, not even close, and the Penguins can't seem to win a cup having their team so top heavy in salaries.

What's the point here?

You seem to think it is important that we compare these three players with a view to their performance, while eliding the significant cap difference...

Now, you've forgotten that the Pens have won a cup and that they were considered a contender last year until Fleury imploded.

They will be considered such again this year.

What is the point you are trying to make?

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#50 Mikey
September 19 2013, 04:06PM
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@DSF

You mentioned CHI earlier. And here are some of their numbers

Kane 6.3 Hall 6 Toews 6.3 Nuge 6 Sharp 5.9 Ebs 6 Hossa 5.27 Yak 6 Bickell 4 Gags 4.8

Seabrook 5.8 Schultz 5? Keith 5.5 Petry 4.5? Hjalmarsson 4.1 Smid 3.5 Oduya 3.3 Ferrance 3.25 leddy 2.7 Gordon 3 Rosival 2.2 Perron 3.8

Crawford 6 Dubnyk 4.5?

Total 57.37 Total 56.35

Thats for next season. I really dont see an issue with the cap for the oilers. Youre right tho, it will be tricky.

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