Suddenly those longterm $6-million-a-year contracts to Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins look exceptionally intelligent. Brilliant, even. Inspired. The new $5.2-billion, 12-year NHL television rights holder deal announced Tuesday with Rogers Sportsnet is totally going to change the landscape of the game in Canada. And while it leaves the best hockey broadcasters in the business at TSN on the outside looking in and could have the same negative effect of ditching ESPN in the U.S. for a cash grab, there’s every evidence it’s going to be excellent for Edmonton and the Oilers. The deal will bring in an estimated $15 million U.S. per club next season. First thing is that the salary cap is going to go up. Daryl Katz’s hockey club, especially going into a new state-of-the-art downtown arena, is going to be a spend-to-the-cap team even if the cap suddenly rockets from the current $64.3 million toward the upper limit of $80 million. For the first time in Oilers history it will mean players like Nugent-Hopkins, Hall, Eberle and the other developing young stars can contemplate playing their entire careers here. “It’s the best day,” said Oilers president and COO Patrick LaForge. “I don’t think any of us would have predicted the aggressiveness and significant commitment Rogers would make. It adds a lot of coin to the game. “This gives us what the NFL has. The strength of the National Football League has always been its broadcast deal. This deal is not equal in numbers but it’s equal in value to us. “This ensures sustainability. The Edmonton Oilers are more sustainable today than we were yesterday. “And it is the right formula for the Oilers to bring a young team forward. It’ll give our fans a lot of confidence that we will be able to keep our players. We can afford them. This assures our fans that our young players will be able to stay here and play through the mid-years and the peak performance years of their careers wearing Oilers colors. “They certainly love that in the NFL. The fans in Green Bay know that Aaron Rodgers is going to be there through his career. Now Oilers fans can count on that going forward with our star players.” The Oilers are already in a deal with Rogers and Sportsnet which carries through to 2020 to broadcast 48 games a year on Sportsnet West and on Oct. 1 replaced Telus with Rogers in a sponsorship and mobile network deal to stream Oilers content. Having already formed those partnerships, LaForge thinks will benefit the Oilers as well. “I think it does. We know them very well. We’ve worked very well together the last nine years.” Back in September, GM Craig MacTavish said he was betting on the cap going up when he signed Nugent-Hopkins to the identical $42-million-over-seven-seasons contract that Hall had signed the year before, to match roommate Eberle’s long-term commitment. “There’s always upward pressure on contracts,” said MacTavish, saying there was no internal forecasting of a blockbuster new TV deal involved. “Those deals will be judged by the cap costs and performance.”