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Oilers’ Current Cap Situation Will Prevent Darnell Nurse From Signing Long Term Deal

Unless a bunch of cap space comes along, a bridge deal is only viable option

Edmonton Oilers v Vegas Golden Knights
Oilers are stretched thin on cap. Can they work out a bridge deal for Darnell Nurse?
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The offseason is here, and the Oilers are in cap trouble.

Six weeks after the official end of Connor McDavid’s entry-level deal, the Edmonton Oilers have just one roster player to sign, and that’s defenceman Darnell Nurse. They should also sign an extra forward in the 725K range, but there’s significant chance they’ve completely priced themselves out of a chance for an extra forward for the simple reason that they’ve spent almost to the cap.

Right this very minute, the Oilers have 4.98MM available to sign Darnell Nurse and one more extra forward. If the Oilers spend a nominal number on an extra forward (something like 700K), it’ll put them at about 4.3MM to get Darnell Nurse under contract.

If they’ve got $5 million in cap space, it’s not going to be a long-term deal.


That’s Darnell Nurse’s agent Anton Thun from Thursday.

The Oilers are up against it with Darnell Nurse, whether or not they sign a 14th forward.

So what’s the best course of action?

  • Offer Nurse a two year deal at 3.5 million a year? He and his agent might accept that. But if Nurse progresses the way that the club hopes he does, that’s going to be a monster deal in the summer of 2020.
  • Trade him? That’ll go over well. I can hear the howling now. What’s going to be the return, a 1RW that the club can’t afford? Maybe strap Lucic to the deal and that might work. Not likely.
  • Free up some cap, then go in for the long term deal? That’d be great, although it’s not high on the probability scale. This is contingent on the club being able to get one of Sekera, Russell or Lucic to waive their NMC and hope for the best.

All the little deals have caught up to the Oilers. 1.5MM for Caggiula. 2.5MM for Mikko Koskinen. 1.95MM a year for Zack Kassian. Buying out Eric Gryba for 300K over the next two years. Buying out Benoit Pouliot for 1.3MM for the next three years. An incredible four years for Kris Russell at 4MM a year. Milan Lucic for 6MM until the end of time.

Peter Chiarelli has got his work cut out for him. Camp starts in six weeks.