Oilers, Nugent-Hopkins put contract talks on back burner
"His agent, Rick Valette, and I had many conversations during the two weeks around free agency in October," Oilers general manager Ken Holland told Ryan Frankson of the team's website. "But the marketplace has changed so much that basically our conversations have ended, and I would hope at some point once we get up and running we can pick back up and see if we can find a solution to keep Nuge in an Oilers uniform. Certainly that's my goal, but the deal's got to work for both Ryan and the Oilers."
It was reported in October that Nugent-Hopkins and the Oilers were making progress on a long-term extension.
"Obviously a weird, different time to be talking contracts," Nugent-Hopkins said. "Right now I'm just focused on getting the season started. In my mind, I know it's there, but I'm going to put it on the back burner and just really focus on getting the season going and getting started the right way."
Nugent-Hopkins is entering the final season of a seven-year pact through which he earns $6 million per campaign. The 27-year-old collected 61 points in 65 games last season, the highest point-per-game rate of his career.
The Oilers are projected to have over $28 million in available money for the 2021-22 campaign, according to Cap Friendly. However, the club has only 11 players signed through next season.