The Edmonton Oilers have two important players to pay in Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, and it seems they're doing their best to wrap up negotiations with the talented young forwards. Both players are entering the final year of their rookie contracts, and if Edmonton can't sign them to extensions, they'll hit the market as unrestricted free agents after the season. The Oilers are trying to do their best to lock them into nice deals that will keep them in Edmonton for the foreseeable future.
How do Oilers fans feel about these potential contract extensions? Scott Reynolds breaks down what he feels would be the best moves for the Oilers at The Copper & Blue.
I think that's probably the range I'd be looking for on contracts that carry these players through to about age 28. My own feeling is that Hall is probably going to be a better player than Eberle, but identical contracts might also help to set expectations for the players still to come (much like the Ducks had happen with Bobby Ryan following Getzlaf and Perry or the Penguins had with Malkin following Crosby). At the very least, I'd want to leave some wiggle room after doing the first two contracts in case you find that it's necessary to give the two subsequent players a bump or that salary inflation isn't happening as quickly as you'd expected.
There are certain issues that come to play, most notably the fact that no one knows yet what the league's new collective bargaining agreement will look like, which could factor heavily into how both the Oilers and the players' representatives conduct their negotiations.
Reynolds hopes the Oilers pay what's needed for the two without significantly hamstringing for the long term, which could force the need to break up a young core of draft picks (including recent draft picks Nail Yakupov and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) down the line. The younger two prospects could end up being better players in the years to come, so it's important for Edmonton to try to lock Hall and Eberle up without breaking the bank for them.
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