Ryan Nugent-Hopkins signed an eight-year, $41 million contract with the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. It has an average annual value of $5.125 million.
The 28-year-old forward scored 35 points (16 goals, 19 assists) in 52 regular-season games for the Oilers, and two points (one goal, one assist) in four Stanley Cup Playoff games. He could have become an unrestricted free agent July 28.
"It's a huge deal to me," Nugent-Hopkins said. "It's always been my goal to be able to stay in Edmonton. That's just what I've wanted. I've loved my time in Edmonton so far. The team is progressing the way we want it to, and I want to be a part of that, and obviously the biggest reason I want to say is that I want to win in Edmonton. We have lots of connections there. Fans have treated me so well. The organization has been great, so it was the easy decision to want to say and [I'm] just happy to be able to make it work.
"Obviously I knew I was unrestricted, but if we were able to work something out with Edmonton before that even came, then that's what I wanted to do. Obviously you think about it because you have some freedom at this point to kind of explore things, but I didn't think of it with a stance that that's what I wanted to do. I just knew it was an option, but like I said, my whole mindset about it was trying to find a way to stay in Edmonton."
Oilers captain Connor McDavid said he's happy Nugent-Hopkins is staying.
"'Nuge' is a guy that's so important, not only on the ice but in the locker room as well, and a guy that I've become very close with," McDavid said Wednesday. "So to see him lock in that eight years ... it's exciting. That's kind of a statement by him to want to be in Edmonton forever and play out his career as an Oiler, it says a lot about him as a guy and what he feels about the city and what he feels about our group."
The Oilers (35-19-2) finished second in the seven-team Scotia North Division and were swept by the Winnipeg Jets in the Stanley Cup First Round.
"The time to try to win is now," Edmonton general manager Ken Holland said. "These players are in the prime of their career, the [NHL salary] cap is $81.5 million. Hopefully the back half of the contract, the cap starts to go [up] at least a little bit, so cap number was important to me. Term was important to Ryan and (agent) Rick Valette, and ultimately I got a cap number that I was pleased with and they got a term they were pleased with."
The No. 1 pick by Edmonton in the 2011 NHL Draft, Nugent-Hopkins has scored 478 points (185 goals, 293 assists) in 656 regular-season games, and 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 21 playoff games. He's scored at least 22 goals four times in 10 NHL seasons.
"In my mind, it was always that I wanted to come back and I wanted to be able to find a way to make it work," Nugent-Hopkins said. "Talking to Ken, I know he felt the same way. It was about finding the right way to do it. Just very happy to have been able to do it and it was always my goal to be able to stay and [I'm] happy to be able to."
NHL.com staff writer Tim Campbell contributed to this report