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:

  • DSF wrote:

    Thing is, the Wild are paying 3 elite players with an established record of success that kind of money.

    Best seasons in terms of points-per-game:

    • Zach Parise: 1.15
    • Taylor Hall: 1.11
    • Jordan Eberle: 0.97
    • Mikko Koivu: 0.89
    • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: 0.84

    So, to recap: Taylor Hall is 21 years old and he’s already in the ballpark of 29-year-old Zach Parise’s best season. Parise makes $1.5 million more per year and the tail end of his contract is a cap recapture nightmare. Meanwhile, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at age 20 has already basically matched 30-year-old Mikko Koivu’s best-ever offensive season.

    The Wild are paying big money to some very good players who are past their prime years of production (historically around age 25). The Oilers are paying less money to players with better/even production just entering their prime.

    • DSF

      Jon, you know as well as I do that there is more than posting scoring numbers to winning hockey games.

      Koivu, for example, is an elite two way centre and Parise is the same.

      I notice you didn’t mention Suter in your boxcar comparison.

      I agree those long contracts will be a nightmare for the Wild in another 5 years or so, but that’s an entirely different issue.

      • Connor Snipes

        I think you’re making a pretty fair argument here, DSF.

        Unfortunately, you are prone to making assumptions on trades/divestitures when arguing for other teams, so let’s try that here for the Oilers, shall we?

        If the Oilers do find themselves top heavy, as you assert, then, like other teams have done, we can assume that they will move one of these $6MM contracts for value prospects and players.

        The nice thing about a $6MM hit is that, while a large number, it is not prohibitive to most teams to pick up that sort of salary, particularly if the player is at or nearing his peak years. Eberle or Yakupov would be my guesses for trade bait, should a situation arise where the cap has not increased at a predictable rate and the team is an cap trouble.

        Of course, this assumes that these pricey players are still producing and as such carry market value…but assumptions haven’t ever stopped us here before, have they?

  • Nuge&Connorvs.Sam&Sean

    @ good old DSF

    Two points:

    1. Want to know what else those contracts are??? VEERY TRADEABLE!!

    2. Dude, JW really owned you in this thread!!

    You be his beatch!!

  • Young Oil

    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.

  • hallsyoilerforever5

    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.

  • Carrying on with my rant about teams top 3 forwards…

    PIT: Crosby, Malkin, Neal ($22.4M)

    MIN: Parise, Koivu, Heatley ($21.79M)

    CAR: Staalx2 , Semin ($21.25m)

    WAS: Ovechkin, Backstrom, Laich ($20.7m)

    ANA: Perry, Getzlaf, Koivu ($20.375m)

    SJS: Thornton, Marleau, Burns (converted..) ($19.66M)

    NYR: Nash, Richards, Callahan ($18.74M)

    CHI: Kane, Toews, Sharp ($18.5M)

    DET: Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Alfie ($18.2M)

    TBL: Stamkos, St. Louis, Filppula ($18.125M)

    EDM: Hall, Nuge, Eberle ($18M)

    LAK: Kopitar, Richards, Carter ($17.82m)

    CBJ: Gaborik, Horton, Umberger ($17.4M)

    BOS: Lucic, Iginla, Krejci ( $17.25M)

    VAN: Sedin, Sedin, Kesler ($17.2M)

    DAL: Seguin, Horcoff, Benn ($16.5M)

    OTT: Spezza, Ryan, Michalek ($16.43M)

    NJD: Zajac, Elias, Clowe ($16.1M)

    TOR: Kessel, Lupul, Clarkson ($15.9M)

    BUF: Vanek, Leino, Hodgson ($15.89M)

    COL: Stastny, O’Reilly, Parenteau ($15.6M)

    WIN: Wheeler, Kane, Little ($15.5M)

    PHX: Ribeiro, Doan, Vermette ($14.55M)

    MTL: Plekanec, Gionta, Pacioretty ($14.5M)

    CGY: Camalleri, Hudler, Jones ($14M)

    PHI: Hartnell, Lecavalier, Voracek ($13.5M)

    NSH: Legwand, Hornqvist, Fisher ($12.95M)

    STL: Backes, Oshie, Stewart ($12.825M)

    FLA: Fleischmann, Versteeg, Barkov ($12.48M)

    NYI: Tavares, Bailey, Moulson ($11.93M)

    League average is $15.8M.
    Oilers have the 11th most expensive forward trio. Is that terrible? Heck no, considering that the value on players constantly goes up, even though the cap went down, and the Oilers signed all 3 within the past year, approximately.

    Also, the Oilers are just outside the top 3rd of the league for forwards.. closer more to the middle. So I consider that just fine, myself, for a team whose top 3 forwards are 23 at the oldest.

    I think the Oilers are right in line with what these guys should be making. A lot of the teams on this list that have “bargain forwards” really actually just have CRAP forwards, or guys who are still on ELCs that will get paid, or they have money tied up elsewhere (such as Philly, who have most of their money in D).

    I don’t really think $18M for Hall, Eberle and Nuge is out of line at all.

    • DSF

      Thing is…every team ahead of the Oilers on your list is also substantially better than the Oilers.

      The closest is likely Minnesota who would have bought out Heatley if he wasn’t injured.

      The problem is the Oilers (barring trade) are locked into those contracts for many, many years while teams like Dallas, Colorado and Detroit have short term flexibility while the Olers will have none.

      As stated earlier, the Oilers will be fine if they are adept enough to build a Stanley Cup winner in the next 7 years but, given how they will be in very tough to hire quality secondary players, that won’t be easy.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis


        Carolina is “substantially better” than the Oilers! and Tampa too!

        Bettman must be tinkering with the standings again.

        “the Oilers will be fine if they are adept enough to build a Stanley Cup winner in the next 7 years”

        This is probably my favorite failed troll attempt ever. It should be bronzed.

      • What a revelation that a team that has been scraping the bottom of the league for the past few years would have several teams “substantially better” than them. Thanks for that superb analysis.

        If we want to be saying every team, then we can be a bit more accurate and also exclude Tampa and Carolina… but that was besides my point.

        The point was, most teams are dropping big coin on their top forwards. The Oilers aren’t putting themselves in any worse position than other teams.

        It should be noted that I only included the top 3 FORWARDS.. some of these other teams top 3 would include d-men. In addition, Edmonton is a team that can spend to the cap, whereas a lot of the teams near the bottom of the list don’t have a hope in hell of being near the cap, or they would do so as well.

        Again, the point, which seems to have sailed past you… the Oilers have top 3 players are paid quite well, but that is consistent with a good percentage of the rest of the league.

        It’s no secret that the Oilers are a team near the bottom (but on the rise, which is potentially debatable), so you can spare us all the stupid obvious comments that several other teams out there are better. You might not think so, but most people, including most NHL players, believe that will change within the next few years.