NHL Rumours: Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, League Advertising

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It’s Boxing Day in Canada and what better way to celebrate than another daily dose of NHL Rumours? Last Word on Hockey’s rumours series is devoted to bringing you all the latest and greatest hits from around the league, breaking down how they may impact your team. Training camps open just next week for the 2020-21 season, meaning teams are quickly trying to make moves to finalize their rosters for this year. In today’s edition of NHL Rumours, Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils take centre stage today. In addition, we will look at some other potential options for league advertising.

NHL Rumours

Edmonton Oilers

Rumour: TSN’s Jason Gregor reports that contract talks between the Oilers and former first-overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have stalled due to COVID-19.

NHL free agent frenzy

Analysis: It’s no secret that Nugent-Hopkins’ value is at an all-time high. He’s posted his first two 60-point seasons in back-to-back seasons and has become a fixture in Edmonton’s top-six. It’s also no secret that Nuge is looking to capitalize on this value. The stalemate makes sense. Nugent-Hopkins wants stability and a raise on his current $6 million cap hit. The Oilers are likely willing to give him a raise, but due to COVID-19 and its consequential financial situation, they’re hesitant about locking him up long term. With the potential of a flat cap for years, and with names like Kailer Yamamoto needing contracts soon, they don’t want to jeopardize their future.

However, the Oilers may not have a choice. Nugent-Hopkins has transitioned to the wing since Leon Draisaitl‘s emergence at centre, but Edmonton’s depth there is still rather thin for a team wanting to contend. While it may be a financial stretch to keep Nugent-Hopkins, he will undoubtedly be a crucial part of the team for at least the next half-decade. He needs to kept around for the Oilers to stay competitive, as his skill set won’t be replaceable at a cheaper rate.

New Jersey Devils

Rumour: Current restricted free agent Jesper Bratt will likely miss training camp due to COVID-19-related quarantine regulations, per the team’s general manager Tom Fitzgerald.

Analysis: Honestly, it’s quite hard to envision why Bratt hasn’t been signed yet. The Devils aren’t exactly a bona fide contender still looking to land a big fish in free agency. And even if they were, the team has upwards of $14 million in cap space. There’s plenty of room for Bratt, and there’s no reason why the 22-year-old winger shouldn’t be signed.

Regardless, it’s a tough situation for Jersey. Bratt will likely slot into the team’s top-six forward group again this season, looking to improve on his 16-goal campaign last season. That will only happen if he shows up to training camp. A guy like Bratt can’t afford to miss any time. With so many inconsistencies in his game, he could find himself on the outside looking in. Bratt is looking for a breakout year, as the young winger still has 30-goal potential. He’s likely trying to secure a big payday now, while the team is likely trying to convince him to bet on himself. Bratt would be well-advised to take the latter option and sign now. It’ll increase his stock in a few years to cash in even bigger on his next deal.

League Advertising

Rumour: Per the Sports Business Journal, the NHL isn’t done adding new forms of advertising. They’ll likely sell ad space on the leading edge wrap of NHL rink glass for the upcoming season to recoup revenue.

Analysis: After weeks of financial uncertainty, the NHL seems to finally have its ducks in a row. Players haven’t had to make additional financial concessions from what was agreed upon in the recently christened CBA. They’ve increased merchandise sales with the release of Reverse Retro jerseys for every team this year. And now, they’re expanding their advertising revenue in the most efficient, yet inoffensive ways possible.

The NHL started with adding helmet ads. The Devils were actually one of the first teams to announce them, displaying a small Prudential advertisement that fans likely won’t even be able to notice clearly during play. These leading-edge wrap ads will function similarly. They won’t impact sightlines and they’ll allow all player and ice features to still be seen clearly. It’s another slam dunk from a league that again is dominating the return-to-play sphere.

Stay tuned for another edition of NHL Rumours this weekend.

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