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UPDATE: Oilers, Darnell Nurse Agree to Extension

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The two year, $5.6MM deal takes Nurse to Unrestricted Free Agency in two years, but it isn’t all bad for the Oilers.

NHL: FEB 08 Predators at Oilers

As per TSN’s Bob MacKenzie:

What Does It Mean?

Darnell Nurse (4-20-24 in 55 GP) will be an Oiler for a little while longer at least. A player you either like a little or love a lot, Nurse looks to be in for a nice little raise. There’s some obivous risk here for the Oilers, of course. A two-year deal means Nurse is an Unrestricted Free Agent when it expires, and if they can’t negotiate a longer term deal between now and then they could risk losing him at less than peak value. Or, in the worst case, for nothing.

It might simply mean they’ll be more aggressive in finding a suitor for him over the next 12-18 months, which seems as likely as ever after this deal, and is something I’ve advocated for some time now.

But we can’t forget, given the recently signed Zack Kassian extension, the Oilers aren’t afraid of giving money or term to pending UFAs they like either. Maybe they’re just kicking the can down the road and genuinely planning to give him every single dollar in two years, in which case: I hate it. Thanks.

All that said it’s hard for me to really crush Ken Holland for this one — and you know I love a good crushing — given some of the rumors floating around the city about Nurse’s ask. The UFA risk is real, and the money’s still some high for the player IMO, but I think this is an alright bit of business by Holland overall. I’m still trying to figure out what portion of me feels that way from relief alone, but it does seem to be among more palatable outcomes for the hockey club.

Moving Forward

Or is it moving an LD for a forward?

With Oscar Klefbom, Nurse, Caleb Jones, and Kris Russell signed beyond this season — and with Caleb Jones’ emergence as a viable third pairing NHL D this year — there is now an impetus to move one of them for some help up front. One has to hope it’s not Klefbom, but there’s a clear logjam on the left side here in Edmonton. Why not take a look at doing that before the looming Trade Deadline and give your better-than-even-money-at-making-the-playoffs club a better shot at taking a real run in April?

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out, but I have to say I’m feeling a tad less dread about it all after seeing Holland avoid the landmine here. It’s not perfect, but it’s not franchise crushing.

C’Mon Man

Let’s be serious. If he really wanted to help the team, there’s a lot of room between his new AAV and his current AAV to provide even more cap flexibility. He could have given up some UFA years, too. He did neither.

UPDATE: It’s Done

As per Sportsnet: