On September 19th, 2013 the Edmonton Oilers announced that they've signed centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to a 7-year $42 million contract extension. Even as a #1 overall pick the 2011 entry draft, that's still a lot of dough for a guy who has played a mere 102 career NHL games.
Did the Oilers overpay for their new $6 million a year man (who joins Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle at the $6m mark)? We decided to take a look at some of the best NHL rookie scoring seasons since the year 2000 to see exactly where Nugent-Hopkins ranked among the league's best.
It's quite the company that Ryan joined in his first NHL season, tied for #7 in Points per Game with Jonathan Toews and Nickalas Backstrom. One other thing we have to remember is Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin's rookie season's were somewhat inflated. They followed the NHL lockout, the same year that the NHL began cracking down on obstruction. As a result there were an abnormally high power play chances:
In 2005 the average goals per game in the NHL was 3.03 (and 5.85 penalties per game), meanwhile for 2011 the average was 2.66 (and 3.31 penalties per game).
Seven years and $42 million is a big commitment on a player that one could argue is still unproven. But remember he is still only 20 years old, who has still not entered the prime of his career. $6 million could end up being a bargain in a few years when you look at some of the players he rubs shoulders with on the table above.