Nugent-Hopkins is among three of the Oilers’ high-profile pending unrestricted free agents this summer, along with Adam Larsson and Tyson Barrie.

Why Nugent-Hopkins wants to stay in Edmonton
Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Allan Mitchell, Oilers beat writers: His desire to stay and see things through was probably forged in those early seasons, with the task the size of Everest and very little support. It’s likely Nugent-Hopkins wants to finish what he started a decade ago under the most challenging of circumstances.
This contract guarantees his presence on the roster, no matter what lies ahead. Now that the Oilers are on the cusp of breaking through into the NHL’s elite tier and nearing contender status, staying put makes a ton of sense from the perspective of the team’s longest-serving player.
How important has he been to the Oilers’ success?
Nugent-Bowman and Mitchell: Nugent-Hopkins arrived in Edmonton in fall 2011, joining Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle as part of a new hope for the team. Several coaches quickly discovered that Nugent-Hopkins was the preferable center to play against other team’s elites (men like Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings) despite his youth and lack of size.
He can still play up the middle, even though he’s getting more ice time on the wing now. Nugent-Hopkins is also a fixture on the power play and the penalty kill, special teams that have been crucial to Edmonton’s regular-season success over the last couple of seasons.
Edmonton’s other offseason priorities
Nugent-Bowman and Mitchell: The Oilers still have to make decisions on three key pending free agents: Larsson, Barrie and Mike Smith. There are holes on the roster at top-six forward (left wing), No. 3 center, depth scoring, defense, and in the net.
The max term means the Nugent-Hopkins can be an Oiler until he’s 36. The AAV of $5.125 million gives Holland a bit more flexibility in the short term to augment his roster.
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