Nugent-Hopkins set to free agent after decade with Oilers –

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Nugent-Hopkins set to free agent after decade with Oilers – fr


The first overall selection in the 2011 NHL Draft is expected to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, free to sign with any team they choose.

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Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said he didn’t think about it, but he may have played his last game with the Edmonton Oilers on Monday.

Nugent-Hopkins scored a goal and an assist for the Oilers in a 4-3 triple overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets in Game 4 of the Scotia North Division semi-final at Bell MTS Place. The loss knocked out the Oilers in the best of seven series and could have ended the 10-year tenure for Nugent-Hopkins in Edmonton.

The first overall selection in the 2011 NHL Draft is expected to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, free to sign with any team they choose.

“I think I’ve said it from the start, I love being an Oiler, I’ve always done it,” Nugent-Hopkins said on Tuesday. “My goal is always to be an Oiler, and right now (free agency) isn’t really on my mind. Right now, I have a lot more in my head than that, so it’s hard to think about that and think about that. I think I said it from day one, I love being an Oiler and that’s something I’ve been very proud of over the past 10 years.

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It’s been a grueling 10 years for Nugent-Hopkins, who was part of the Oilers’ rebuild, which included Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov and Devan Dubnyk.

Nugent-Hopkins, 28, is now part of a rebuild that includes Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse. A product of Burnaby, BC, Nugent-Hopkins played 656 regular-season games for the Oilers and just 21 postseason games, which includes last season’s play-in round.

A year ago, Nugent-Hopkins and the Oilers were eliminated by the Chicago Blackhawks in four games in the best of five play-in series. This season, they’ve lost three overtime games to the Jets en route to being swept out of the playoffs.

“I think at this point, with everyone in the room, it’s a disappointment; a kick in the stomach is tough to take right now, ”said Nugent-Hopkins. “It’s obviously still fresh, we came back (to Edmonton) less than 12 hours ago. It’s tough right now, but at the same time I think we’ve done a lot of good things in every game of this series and we fought extremely hard in every game.

“Every game was a one-goal game, there were three overtime games. Obviously, that means it could either way. We just couldn’t do it and that’s the hardest part to do now.

If this was indeed Nugent-Hopkins’ last game with the Oilers, it was his best of the short playoff series. He scored on an excellent individual effort to tie the game 2-2 in the second period, then helped establish the go-ahead goal on the power play to give the Oilers the lead before the third.

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However, the Oilers were unable to hold the lead in the third, as Mark Scheifele scored to tie 3-3, eventually converting to a roll from defenseman Ethan Bear. Kyle Connor won it at 6:52 of third overtime.

Edmonton was second in the All-Canadian division this season and was favored against the Jets, having won seven of nine regular season games. But after losing the first game of the series 4-1 at home, which included two goals in an empty net, the Oilers lost the next three in overtime.

“I think the way we played this series compared to the way we played against the Blackhawks, we were a different team, we checked a lot harder, we didn’t give up a lot, we just got together. beaten harder, ”Nugent-Hopkins mentioned. “It’s disappointing to go through a year and not be able to make an effort. I think having the playoff experience – we have a lot of young guys on this team, even myself is my third time there – and I think just getting that experience in playoffs, that will go a long way in the future. “

It remains to be seen where Nugent-Hopkins stands in this future. He completed a seven-year, $ 42 million contract, which paid him $ 6 million a year.

Nugent-Hopkins was the third-highest-paid Oilers forward behind Connor McDavid ($ 12.5 million) and Leon Draisaitl ($ 8.5 million) and has 16 goals and 35 points in 52 games for the Oilers this season. .

“It’s hard not to think about my early years in the league, we were a background team and there were no games like that in the (Monday) night game my early years here,” Nugent said. -Hopkins. “You’re playing a third overtime, that’s what you want to do, that’s why you play. It’s fun to be a part of hockey. The results suck but, at the same time, it’s something that I wanted to be a part of my whole career. I got a taste of it in 2017 and a little more last year. But he thinks that this year we’ve played three overtime and it hurts not to pull one out, that’s for sure.

“These are things that you are learning and next year when we are in this situation, we are not going to do it again.”

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On Twitter: DerekVanDiest

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