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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

OilersNation Top 25 of 2020: #13 — The Seattle Expansion Draft and what it means for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ next contract

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!

There are few issues more pressing for the Edmonton Oilers than that of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ next contract.

The Oilers have a huge decision to make next year there, and it will have impacts on the club for years to come.

An article penned by Cam Lewis on March 26 took a look at that and it was the 13th most-read article this year.

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The Seattle Expansion Draft and what it means for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ next contract

With rules similar to that of the Golden Knights expansion draft, Lewis said what’s likely the best course of action was to protect McDavid, Draisaitl, Yamamoto, Benson, Klefbom, Nurse, Bear, and Jones notably omitting Nugent-Hopkins.

But that doesn’t mean Lewis wants to see the Oilers lose him, but rather, capitalize on his contract to offer flexibility in the protection slots.

Here’s some of what Lewis wrote:

If Nugent-Hopkins does get an extension this summer, the Oilers would likely have to go the seven forwards, three defencemen route. That would involve protecting McDavid, Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins, Yamamoto, Benson, maybe Puljujarvi or Kassian or Athanasiou depending on his next deal and selecting three of Klefbom, Bear, Nurse, and Jones.

If there’s interest from both sides to find ground on a new contract, the right move for the Oilers is to wait and sign that deal after the Expansion Draft. There’s obviously a small risk that Nugent-Hopkins could end up signing elsewhere on July 1, 2021, but, again, if there’s mutual interest in him sticking around in Edmonton long-term, that shouldn’t be an issue. Maneuvering Nugent-Hopkins’ contract extension in this way would allow the Oilers to ensure a good, young defenceman like Jones doesn’t get scooped up by Seattle.

Of course, a lot can change between now and then. But, as things stand right now, this should be Holland’s plan with Seattle’s Expansion Draft on the horizon. There’ll be plenty of talk about locking up Nugent-Hopkins long-term this summer, but it’s best to be patient.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

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