Nugent-Hopkins Signs Eight-Year Extension With Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers signed forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to an eight-year, $41 million contract extension. The deal also includes a no-movement clause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Scratch one of the notable names from this summer’s list of potential unrestricted free agents.
Nugent-Hopkins, 28, is completing a seven-year, $42 million contract. He was selected first overall by the Oilers in the 2011 NHL Draft, going on to tally 478 points in 656 games.
He’s taking a pay cut from a $6 million annual average value to $5.125 million to stay in Edmonton but this deal ensures him a longer contract. It’s a wise move on his part given the uncertainty created by a salary cap expected to remain near the current $81.5 million for the next several seasons.
Nugent-Hopkins is a versatile forward, playing center or wing and seeing plenty of duty on the Oilers’ power-play and penalty kill. He had two 60-plus points seasons in 2018-19 and 2019-20 but his numbers dropped this season to 35 points in 52 contests. That decline could be attributable to the shortened schedule.
The annual average value is fine for a player of Nugent-Hopkins’ current abilities, However, the length of the deal could become an issue over the final four years when he’ll be in his mid-thirties. That’s usually when a player’s performance deteriorates. This contract could become a costly headache if this season’s drop in his production signaled the start of his decline.
Nugent-Hopkins’ no-movement clause does not apply to the upcoming expansion draft. The Oilers still have to put him on their protected list.
This signing will leave the Oilers with over $65 million invested in 19 players. Their other notable free agents include pending UFA goaltender Mike Smith defensemen Adam Larsson and Tyson Barrie.