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:

  • oilerjed

    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.

  • 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.

    • bazmagoo

      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.

  • 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.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    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.

  • Supernova

    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.

    • pkam

      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.

    • Supernova

      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.

    • Wax Man Riley


  • DSF

    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.

    • pkam

      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?

      • Ducey

        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.

      • DSF

        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.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          “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?


          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            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?

        • 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.

          • DSF

            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.

          • DSF

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

            And even with Heatley’s boat anchor contract on the books are only the 23rd highest spending team in the league with $3.75M in cap space this season.

            The Oilers are already the 10th highest payroll team in the league BEFORE the Hopkins, Schultz, Yakupov and Petry deals.

          • Kodiak

            Suter is the only elite Wild. Parise and Koivu are not in Hall’s class and I wouldn’t call him elite yet. There isn’t a team out there that wouldn’t trade Parise and Koivu for two of Hall, Nuge and Eberle, never mind the $3+million in cap saving every year. Koivu will be 35 and making $7.5m and they will be paying Parise $7.53m into his 40’s when Hall and Eberle are in their prime making $6m.

            And don’t forget that Brodin and Granlund are RFA the same time Yak is and will be getting big raises so include that in your skewed comparisons.

          • soph – ist – ry, noun. The use of fallacious arguments, esp. with the intention of deceiving.

            For example: “Once Heatley leaves, the Wild will have only three players making more than $5.0 million; the Oilers will have five.”

            Why is it sophistry? Because while true, it misleads. This sentence, for example, is equally true, and just as misleading: “The Wild have four players making $6.75 million or more. The Oilers have none.”

          • Bucknuck

            Man im glad you have a way with words to.deal.with this troll. Lord know I dont have the patients.

            Just like im putting complete trust in MacT.

            Furthermore I see JShultz hopefully getting a Subban type deal.

        • pkam

          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.

        • a lg dubl dubl

          You’re right in that if James Mirtle’s cap projections are correct, we are in trouble.

          Its a good thing everyone else says we’re only a year away from a 70+ million/year cap, and based on projections, may be at 80 by the time Hall and Eberle’s contracts come up for renewal at the ripe age of 28-29.

          Considering all the teams that have their noses up against the glass financially, the Oilers are in decent shape. Just like anyone, they need some cheap ELC or pluggers to play above their pedigree, but any successful team needs that.

    • Ducey

      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.

      • DSF

        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.


        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

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          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.

          • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

            Very conservative in my opinion. Its like the Alberta Government saying its only going to cost 5 billion to rebuild after this seasons floods in Southern Alberta. Or that the price of Oil will be 70 a barrel in their budjet when its 106. Even the bitumen bubble still increases the revenue by 15-20 % in revenue to the province.

            Pundits will usually err on the side of caution when talking about something that is not known. I don’t disagree with that thinking. But when were talking about HHR and suchlike the projections are so far flung and diverse that you could not get 2 people to agree as to what the cap will be in 1 year never ming 3 years from now. Who knows how the world economy will play out.

            MacT is smart. He has an MBA. For those who don’t know that is a Masters in Buisness Administration. I suppose he might know a thing or three about economics and suchlike. I think I’ll put my faith in MacT rather James Mirtles pie in the sky predictions. MacT might have a better sense/knowledge of where the cap is going considering he is an NHL GM.

        • pkam

          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.

        • Ducey

          I read the Mirtle article. It was written in January right after the lockout. I imagine things have changed in the last 9 months.

          Here is the key:
          The thing too is that’s only based on 5 per cent revenue growth annually. The NHL grew at a rate of about 7.2 per cent in the last agreement, which if it continued, would mean that in Year 8, this league would top $5-billion in revenues.

          He did not say revenue would grow at 5%. He assumed it. That seems low given the league has grown at 7.2 %

          Therefore, for you put it forward as fact is, well, a little misleading.

          • pkam

            A lot of hockey minds already predict the salary in 14-15 to return to 70M, even at 50% of HRR.

            And I read the other day that the league is trying to grow their revenue by 1B in 3 years. If they manage to do it, even we argue that the salary should be 60M this year, the salary cap will be 78M by 16-17.

            DSF is just trying to stir the pot, even Gillis will not be so dumb to project the salary in 15-16 to be 66M.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Yeah, I haven’t read the Mirtle article, but the salary cap has grown by approximately 8.75% year-over-year since 2005-06. I’m not sure where DSF is getting his math. By that reckoning, the salary cap should be approx $70 million. Yes, that uses an average annual growth rate, and there is a revised CBA, but the point stands.

            Oilers banking on salary cap growth is not a fool’s errand.

            Turns out the dog can hunt!

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            It’s a lack of context, which is what I pointed out above.

            Mirtle’s is an conservative estimate.

            we need to allow for rosy and conservative estimate AND recognize that even under the conservative estimate the Oilers are fine.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      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 ….

    • Okay, let’s assume your numbers are all right – $66MM salary cap, the money for Schultz and Petry too.

      Here’s the roster:

      • Hall – Nugent-Hopkins – Yakuopv
      • Perron – Gagner – Eberle
      • ??? – Gordon – ???
      • ??? – ??? – ???
      • Smid – Schultz
      • Ference – Petry
      • Nurse – Klefbom
      • Dubnyk

      So, that leaves you with the need to find two bottom-nine wingers, a fourth line and 13th forward, a seventh defenceman and a backup goalie. The total cost above is $57.9 million by my count, so you have 8.1 million for those eight pieces.

      If Gernat or Musil can play seventh D, that’s 900K and the defence is taken care of. Add in a LaBarbera equivalent for the backup at $1.0MM (or do what Carolina did and bring in a Khudobin-type for less). That leaves you ~6.2 million for the last six forwards on the roster, which seems totally doable.

      • Craig1981

        What you posted reminds me a lot of the Hawks lines. They have an amazing top 2 lines and great top4 dmen. They manage to fill the bottom with prospect and role players. They have one the cup twice! and are constantly competitive.

        • mk

          I don’t think a comparison to the Blackhawks is apt at all. They were nearly a playoff team the first year with Toews/Kane, made a big run in the second year, and won in the third year.

          The Oilers still haven’t even made the playoffs and are starting: year 4 of Hall/Eberle, year 3 of RNH and year 2 of Yakupov.

          Not to mention, Chicago had a SOLID D-core (traditionally taking more development time) before Toews/Kane/Hossa arrived. I think the Oilers are still at least 2 or 3 years from any real shot at a deep playoff run – that’s a far cry from the Blackhawks model.

      • DSF

        Of course it’s “doable” if you have the right players at the right price to plug into those spots and IF you can win a cup that way.

        I would think the two 3rd line wingers are likely to run you at least $2.0M each if they are any good, so that leaves you with $1.2M for the last 3 forward spots.

        If you look at Detroit as a contending but not championship team, their 4th line is currently:

        Nyquist ($950K ELC)

        Helm ($2.1M)

        Tootoo ($1.9M)

        Because Detroit only has 3 (Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Howard) making more than $5M in 2014/15, they have a ton of flexibility and yet still have a very solid core.

        • NewfoundlandOil

          Incorrect…It is “doable” if you have the right players at the right price, but hitting the cap number has nothing to do with winning the cup, so we can remove that qualifier.

          I love the signing, good for the Oilers, good for Nuge and good for the fans. I suspect it puts them closer to winning the cup some day, than if they didn’t sign him.

    • pkam

      Not sure how with your arguments you can come up with the conclusion that the Oilers window to win a cup will be very soon and very short.

      Not saying I agree with your cap projection, but assuming you are correct, the Oilers will have a cap problem in 2015/16. But salary should go up after 2015/16 so our situation will improve with all the long term contracts. If we don’t have enough cap space to sign another 11 players in 2015/16, we should be able to in 16/17 or 17/18 with the increase in salary cap and no increase in our long term contracts. So I don’t understand why our window is very soon and short.

      Another argument is many teams will have cap problem in 2015/16, and most of them will likely be worse than our situation. When there is not enough HRR to provide a higher cap, teams will have less money to sign their players and players will have to lower their asking price to get a contract. So 3rd and 4th line UFA will be more affordable.

        • pkam


          E. Staal: 8.25M
          Semin: 7.0M
          J. Staal: 6.0M
          Skinner: 5.725M
          Tuomo: 4.75M
          Ward: 6.3M
          So 4 top 6 forwards, a 3C and a starting goalie, 6 players for 38M, with 28M left to sign 2 top 6 forward, 4 top 4 D and 11 bottom 8 F and bottom 3 D and backup goalie. Even if they can sign the 2 top 6 F and the 4 top 4 d at 3.5M each, it will take up another 21M. So 59M for 12 players, with 7M left to sign the other 11 players.

          Crosby: 8.7M
          Malkin: 9.5M
          Neal: 5M
          Pascal: 3.75M
          Kunitz: 3.725M
          Letang: 7.25M
          Scuderi: 3.375M
          So 5 top 6 F and 2 top 4 D, 7 players for 41M and no starting goalie. So 25M for 1 top 6 forward, 2 top 4D and a starting goalie and 12 more players. Even they can sign the top 6 F and top 2 D at 3.5M each and the goalie at 4.5M, it will be another 15m and 10M left for the other 12 players.

          I don’t want to list every team but you can look it up yourself. Wilds, Kings, Capitals, Bruins are in similar situation.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        “Not sure how with your arguments you can come up with the conclusion that the Oilers window to win a cup will be very soon and very short.”

        In crazy DSF relative land, “very soon and very short” is 7 years.

        Longer than most marriages.

      • Spoils

        RNH, Hall, Ebs, then Yak sure, but ideally we are tossing Klefbom and Nurse on that salary pile as well.

        didn’t the Canucks take a pay cut to keep the team together?

        • pkam

          Why should we rip off our players instead of sign them to fair market value?

          Did Crosby and Malkin take a pay cut? Did Kane and Toews take a pay cut? Did Kopitar and Doughty take a pay cut?

          If the Canucks get so many pay cut from their players, why the teams I list above all won the cup in the last 5 years and all the Canucks get is swept in the 1st round?

          • Spoils

            I like your thoughts, – winners don’t paint themselves into a box where they have to go hat in hand… but maybe that is because those winners haven’t been such legendary losers that they have a bag of good low first rounders (ebs, gags) 3 first overalls in a row, an unprecedented young free agent signing (schultzy), a World Junior first team all-star (kelf) and a #7 pick that looks like “a young larry robinson”… IF they all pan out it would be a tragedy to have the salary cap eff it up.

            and hey if the guys win some cups the money they would give up in a some sort of pay cut scheme will come back and then some.

            oh, and the world will see great hockey… and they will have stanley cupS.

            I wouldn’t know, but I like to think an extra million to a millionaire is not as important as creating something truly beautiful.

            damn the kool-aid is good these days.

  • Young Oil

    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.

    • Young Oil

      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.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      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.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    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.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    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 6×7 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.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    I’m enough of a pessimist that I would have preferred RNH to show us the beef after his surgery than signing now. Hopefully MacT will prove to be a better seer than I.

    It would appear to me that the teams who have been consistently good in the cap world (Pittsburgh, Boston, Chicago) have locked up a core group and filled around them as best they can. This doesn’t mean they don’t have to shed salary at times. Chicago had to do it big time after their penultimate cup but rebounded within 3 years to grab another.

    Best case scenario will be the Oil needing to make some tough cap decisions in a few years because of the wealth of talent. That is how the system is supposed to work.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    DSF: “But remember he had to move Jordan Staal to make things work.”

    Is that why, in June 2012, they offered him a 10year almost 60M contract that Staal rejected?