Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: Seven more years


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:

    • 24% body fat

      That is becuase the Template would have been good if only Hall got 6 and Eberle didnt. If Eberle was at 5.3 than Gagner would have been cheaper, and there would have been a possibility of getting Nuge for slightly less. Now if Yak gets a 50 point season he will also get 6M. I dont have a problem with the number ones getting 6M. The problem was Eberle got overpaid based on one year which set a precedent for the next guys saying here is 6M no matter how you play. IF we could have saved 700K on Eberle, 350K more on Gagner, 300K on Nuge; and possibly see where to save on Yak (pending his performance) that could be an extra 1.5 – 2M dollars.

      Nuge is good and will cover the bet. the problem is the message is set that you dont need to perform to get paid. We are paying based on pedigree.

      Oh and Kadri? Gimme a f#(@ing break.

      EDIT: the 6M internal cap could have been set with just Hall. Didnt need he and Eberle both to set it. Particularly with Nuge ready the next year for it.

      • pkam

        Evander Kane is signed for 5.25M and Skinner is signed for 5.725M.

        So you are telling me Eberle is only as good as Evander Kane and no as good as Skinner?

        If you really want to argue that Eberle should not get what Hall gets, the difference is very small, not 700K. And I can argue that Eberle should be better Skinner and deserve that 6M but we can a deal from Hall.

        And don’t forget, Hall gets 3.75M in his ELC, but Eberle only gets 1.16M yet he has been the better player in the 1st 2 years of their ELC, so we just compensate it in this contract.

        • 24% body fat

          Does not mean I like Skinners contract. And If you dont think there is a 700k difference between Hall and Eberle you are not watching the game. Yes Evander Kane is debate-ably as good as Eberle. Keep in mind Kane is the best player on his line. Eberle is the third.

          Yes pay them fairly, but if you want a dynasty or even a cup we need to get deals on contracts. Why would anyone be happy about paying more for a player than we need to. Just because you like them? Stupid reason.

          Oilers had leverage in every deal hear with the young core except Gagner, yet they did not use it. Halls deal will be great, Nuge should cover the bet, but I dont think Eberle will, especially as he starts splitting ice time with Yakupov.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    @Cyle Frog: That my good Sir was stupendous! By far, the most entertaining and well thought out “shut-up” I have read yet regarding DSF.

  • ubermiguel

    You only use bridge contracts for guys that you are unsure about, in terms of their numbers regressing to the mean or maturity issues. PK Subban, obviously all of the talent in the world, it didn’t surprise me to see him win the Norris. But all of that could have easily unhinged for him. Lack of discipline in his game and off the ice could have made him a lesser player.

    Dion Phaneuf should have been signed to a bridge contract. He just wasn’t ready for it. Money got to his head. Dramatic exit from Calgary where he supposedly got into a fist fight with Iginla. Underperformed his contract for a few years and then finally pulled it together the last year or two.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Even if Yak signs for $6mil, Schultz Jr & Dub’er for $5mil, that’s 34 committed to the core: Ebs/Hall/Nuge/Yak/Schultz/Dub’er. That’s no diffferent than Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh, Vancouver….

    I have the impression that those getting worked up over the dollar amount are short-sighted. This kid will be worth it, all roads point to hardware for this kid.

    Hall bounced back after the identical procedure and was in the top 10. I don’t know if Nuge is that talented, but if he’s anywhere close, $6mil per is worth it.

    I’d even say that now Hall at $6mil/yr is a stunning discount. We’ll be saying this about Nuge soon.

    • pkam

      I am not sure if J. Schultz will get 6M, but definitely more than 5M. Can’t imagine his agent will agree to less than the 5.14M that Bogosian gets.

      And I believe Dubnyk will be looking at something around 5.3M which Howard gets.

      My bet, around 11M for the 2.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    I think if there’s any argument to be made that the Oilers are in cap trouble, it’s in the bottom 6 rather than the top 6.

    Getting the top 3 players signed for a cap hit of 18mil I think is probably the easiest part of this whole situation. The challenge may be to find value in the bottom 6 like Shero and Bowman have. Their Stanley Cup winning teams didn’t follow a “superstar top-6/AHL bottom-6” format.

    Pittsburgh and Chicago owe at least a little of their success to the fact that they had guys like Staal and Ladd playing on their respective third lines on value contracts.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    I love being an arm chair GM, and I love hearing everyone else’s strategies as well. But one thing I never understand amongst our group is the argument that a player is overpaid. In my opinion, the only time a player is overpaid is when it impedes the GM from acquiring the necessary talent to build a cup winning team. That is the only bad contract.

    For example, Luongo was a bad contract because it impeded Gillis’ ability to trade him for any sort of return, thus causing Schnidergate. Kovalchuck was another bad contract because it meant for half a season the devils could only dress 16 players to stay under the cap.

    On the flip side, Dipietro and Horcoff are not bad contracts. They are stupid contracts, but they never impeded the team’s ability to acquire talent, other things did that. Plus Mac T was able to trade Horcoff. I kind of wish the NHL would go back to the old way and not release player salaries.

  • 24% body fat

    I’m sure this has been mentioned on here somewhere before but if, as everyone predicts, the salary cap not only goes up, but actually sky rockets in the coming years (say above 74 mill in 4 years), then these contracts are simply genius. The type of team they will be able to build with their major stars locked in long term at relatively low amounts compared to the cap, will be insane. I think we’re seeing the third way to build a dynasty, and that is playing the cap stock.