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Columnist believes Oilers should lock up RNH, Schultz early

Jul 27, 2013, 7:39 PM EDT

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In a salary cap age, the difference between being a deep team vs. a top-heavy squad often comes down to signing players at discount rates before they blossom.*

With that notion in mind, the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples argues that the Edmonton Oilers should lock up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Justin Schultz and Jeff Petry long-term right now instead of waiting for their current deals to expire next summer.

Nugent-Hopkins, Schultz and Petry are all restricted free agents next summer. They all had just OK seasons in 2013, if you go by the traditional NHL statistics like points and goals plus-minus. Their value and salary expectations will likely be higher next summer.

How much more will Nugent-Hopkins cost if he puts up a point a game, if Schultz gets 55 or 60 points, and if Petry thrives against tough competition in a two-way role?

Staples estimates that Nugent-Hopkins and Schultz might draw eight-year, $42 million deals while Petry could fetch $24 million over six.

There’s no doubt that the Oilers would be rolling the dice by signing young players without much of a sample size, but as Tuukka Rask showed with the Boston Bruins, a promising young talent can make a team pay big time in a “show me” season.

* – The Los Angeles Kings reaping cheap years from Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick stands as a great example, although both players are finally approaching big paydays.

  1. ray2013 - Jul 27, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    The columnist needs to give his head a shake. $5.25 million AAV for 8 years for RNH & J. Schultz? If you were going to lock them up for eight years it should be for a more cap-friendly hit.

  2. sunderlanding - Jul 27, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Isn’t that what New York did with Rick Dipietro? That worked out well.

  3. LampyB - Jul 27, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    Schultz will be a much higher caliber player and should absolutely be locked up. I’d say he had a great rookie season and showed a lot of promise. Keep banking on RNH if you want to make a bad investment. He was so bad this year it was painful to see. Pulled enough points to be a mediocre fourth liner at best. Not to say he won’t get better, but even a big step would put him at average…maybe flippula status without the pay grade.

    • ray2013 - Jul 28, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      I preferred RNH to J. Schultz. I just wonder about locking up so much money in the top 6. $6 mil. for Hall & Eberle each. Gagner for $4.8. Nuge & J. Schultz for $5.25 m. Yak for who knows? You’re looking at over half the cap for the top 6. Doesn’t seem feasible long-term.

  4. ruthlessandtoothless - Jul 28, 2013 at 3:19 AM

    Learn from the Tyler Myers deal. Don’t pay potential because potential won’t always pay. Its better if you just deal with the price they come with when they earn it. Anyway, a good agent will see that you’re trying to tie them up long term before they can maximize their earnings and then advise them to decline anything you offer.

  5. jl9830 - Jul 28, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    On the flip side, why would RNH and Schultz accept contracts now when they know they are RFA’s in one year and are likely to improve this season? They aren’t stupid. They’re likely to wait before signing a contract. You could maybe get them to sign a 2-year deal now, but the Oilers wouldn’t get much more than that.

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