Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ agent Rick Valette is kicking off contract extension talks with Edmonton Oilers GM Craig MacTavish and assistant Scott Howson, TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reports.
To little surprise, there’s no word regarding what kind of term or salary is being discussed (it’s early, after all).
The 20-year-old forward is entering the final season of his entry-level contract. It’s believed that he won’t be able to play in the team’s season opener and may need to rehab into November.
Whenever the top pick of the 2011 NHL Draft is healthy, he’d have much to gain in proving that he can handle an 82-game workload, as the jury’s still out on whether his frame can handle the wear and tear. Nugent-Hopkins missed 20 games in 2011-12 and was limited to 40 contests in 2013.
Picking comparable contracts could be the trickiest part.
Valette would likely trot out RNH’s teammates Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, two young standouts who are carrying $6 million cap hits. The Oilers would probably counter with Sam Gagner and David Perron’s contracts, if not Nazem Kadri’s bridge deals.
Regardless, the Oilers are wise to try to get something done soon while continuing to lock up the young core that still has fans excited about Edmonton’s future.