Earlier this week, Frank Seravalli reported that the Oilers have offered Ryan Nugent-Hopkins a five-year contract extension. Seravalli and Jason Gregor spoke on the DFO Rundown on Friday about what this offer means for the team and what it means for free agents in general this off-season…
GREGOR: Frank, I want to get to one player because I think it’s a microcosm of what we’re going to see in the off-season. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, a long-time Edmonton Oiler, he’s a potential UFA, they’re obviously not going to move him at the trade deadline, worst-case-scenario he doesn’t re-sign and walks in the off-season. You reported that the last offer was a five-year deal from the Oilers, maybe not the money that Nugent-Hopkins is looking for.
Here’s my thing… To me, I have been on the bandwagon for years: term, term, term is what crushes teams in free agency and time and time again they forget. If I was an Oilers fan and I heard that my GM is offering a five-year deal, because if he’s offering it to one of his longest standing players he’s probably not going to offer that to guys like Adam Larsson or Tyson Barrie, I would assume. I just wonder if we’re going to see more teams limiting term in this flat cap era.
If you get stuck, I mean, look at somebody like Erik Karlsson, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, these are good players but quickly three or four years in and they’re only half way through their contract and you’re like ‘oh my goodness.’ Do you think the flat cap is ultimately what’s going to lead to, espeically with UFAs, less guys getting term?
SERAVALLI: I would hope so. It’s about time that everyone’s connected the dots. The last time I checked, father time has remained undefeated. There’s very few players if I was running a team that would garner a real, long-term deal, like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, special player, Sidney Crosby, same kind of thing.
When you’re talking about non-super stars, good players that help your team win, I’m not going over five years for just about anyone. It’s a very rare circumstance and I would think that if you’re an Oilers fan and you’re viewing it rationally, you’d be celebrating that they’re trying to limit that, that they’re seeing five years on a player that they could go eight on, that they want to keep it to that number.
Does that mean that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins won’t sign in Edmonton? Does that mean that they couldn’t ultimately come to a deal that is six years? Who knows. Anything’s possible.
But that gives you some kind of indication, that coupled with the dollars, that they haven’t found common ground at this point. I don’t think they’re there on either part, and they’re in a spot now that they’re a few weeks from the trade deadline and I think this is one of those situations that goes right down to the wire, right before the start of free agency that they’re trying to hammer this out.