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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins next contract?

As we do every Monday, the mailbag is back with the answers you’ve always wanted to know about the Edmonton Oilers, the NHL, and life in general. This week, we’re looking at Nugent-Hopkins’ next deal, trading back at the draft, free agency, and more. As always, this article depends on you guys so I need you to submit your questions. If you have something you’d like to know you can always email me, or DM me on Twitter. With that out of the way, it’s time to learn something. Enjoy.

Mar 3, 2020; Dallas, Texas, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) in action during the game between the Stars and the Oilers at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

1) @SFiddler007 asks – Do you see the Oilers extending RNH this offseason or waiting until after the expansion draft so that they don’t have to protect him?

Jason Gregor:

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I don’t see it happening in the off-season. I could see it during the year, but I don’t see the Oilers being in a rush to extend him. Waiting to see what the financial landscape will be would be wise.

Robin Brownlee:

My guess is RNH will be extended before the expansion draft in June 2021. If they wait until after the expansion draft they open the door for UFA status and, it follows, the possibility of a bidding war or losing him altogether.

Cam Lewis:

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I’ve said before, but ideally, the Oilers wait until after the Expansion Draft to get this done. That way, they can leave him exposed and protect somebody else and then just work out a deal afterwards. Maybe easier said than done, but it would be ideal.

In terms of the value of his next contract… I can’t see why RNH would command any less than the $7,142,857 annual salary that Kevin Hayes got from the Flyers in free agency. I would really like to keep RNH around, but if he’s going to command north of $8,000,000, the Oilers might have to move on.

Zach Laing:

I think the Oilers get it done this off-season. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnson alluded to this on Headlines Saturday where he said the Jeff Petry (who was set to be a UFA next year) extension is an example we may be seeing more of. It’s gives the team and player financial clarity in a murky landscape.

Baggedmilk:

Keep. Nuge. Forever. The sooner the Oilers get this done, the happier I’ll be. That said, I don’t think it gets done until mid-way through the upcoming year.

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2) Eddie asks – After seeing the news out of Ottawa this morning, would anyone have any interest in pursuing Bobby Ryan on a low-cost 👏deal?

Jason Gregor:

A one-year deal at $1.5 million. I’d be interested. He wouldn’t be my first choice, but if others are too pricey, he’d be a decent backup option.

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Robin Brownlee:

I wouldn’t. I admire Ryan for addressing his alcohol addiction and he’s obviously looking for a fresh start, but he’s 33 and on the downside of his career. I’m not big on bringing in veterans at the age Ryan is unless they’re proven role players or glue guys with established leadership credentials. Ryan is not that. Yes, cost matters, but if the player isn’t what you need it’s no bargain at any price.

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Cam Lewis:

No, Ryan is washed. There will be plenty of better veterans (Corey Perry comes to mind) out there the Oilers can grab on a one-year deal.

Zach Laing:

Maybe? I’d hope there’s better options out there.

Baggedmilk:

I wouldn’t mind giving him a look on a short-term deal but I highly doubt it’ll happen. At least, not unless Uncle Ken starts clearing space on the right side.

3) Stephen asks – Since the Oilers are shy on draft picks this summer, would anyone like to see Ken Holland trade down in the first round to try and acquire additional slots?

Jason Gregor:

He could trade down and get another pick, but how far does he want to move down? It depends who is available when it is their turn to pick. If they really like a player at #14, then I’d guess they take him. But if they feel three are three or four players they like and all are on the board, then they might move back a few spots.

Robin Brownlee:

What are you going to get for a mid-first-round pick unless you drop right out of the first round? Don’t know what the Oilers draft list looks like. Is there somebody they see at 14th that they really like? I don’t know.

Cam Lewis:

The Oilers could really use an impact forward in their farm system, so I would just keep the pick and draft the best player available. Recoup draft assets by dealing guys like Matt Benning, Adam Larsson, and possibly Andreas Athanasiou. Trading down didn’t work out in 2003, I wouldn’t risk it.

Zach Laing:

Hold onto it and draft an impact player. That’s what Edmonton needs right now more than anything.

Baggedmilk:

It depends on the deal, really. I understand why you’d want to see the Oilers add more picks, but the reality is that they’re more likely to step up to the podium at #14 and pick up a new toy.

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Oct 22, 2019; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom (77) passes during the third period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

4) @EngmanDerek asks – What is the market value in your opinion for Oscar Klefbom or Darnell Nurse? Whose value is higher?

Jason Gregor:

Market value is a good question, because it is difficult to determine. Nurse is younger and doesn’t have the same injury history. Klefbom’s lower cap hit makes him quite attractive. I’d guess their value is quite close, and depends what the team interested in them values. Nurse is better at carrying the puck and creating offence at 5×5. Klefbom better on the PP, better outlet passer.

Robin Brownlee:

Klefbom has the higher value. His contract means set cost ($4.167M) for the next three years while Nurse is a UFA after two more seasons and he starts with a higher price tag ($5.6M).

Cam Lewis:

Klefbom by a pretty wide margin. He’s the better player and he’s signed to an amazing contract.

Zach Laing:

I think it’s close, but Klefbom takes the cake. He is on a way better deal that would make him much more attractive to other teams.

Baggedmilk:

For me, it’s Klefbom. He’s the better defenceman in all three zones with a cheaper contract. That said, Darryl is more durable and has the toughness factor that so many GMs love. Tough to say.

5) Mark asks – I’m wondering if you’ve noticed a difference in the quality of officiating since hockey (and any other sport you follow) has gone spectator-less?

Jason Gregor:

I haven’t noticed much of a difference, to be honest. I haven’t seen many egregious errors.

Robin Brownlee:

Not really. That tripping call on Jamie Benn in OT the other night was brutal, but we’ve seen the same bad calls in other years.

Cam Lewis:

I think the reffing has been quite good all throughout the playoffs.

Zach Laing:

Seems like the status quo to me.

Baggedmilk:

Haven’t noticed a difference, to be honest.

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