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EXTENDED: Darnell Nurse Signs 8 Year Extension

Contract valued at 9.25MM AAV through the 2029-30 season

Edmonton Oilers v Winnipeg Jets
Baby, You’re A Rich Man
Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

You knew that a big Nurse extension was going to happen.

Today, it happened.

Darnell Nurse has signed an eight year extension valued at $74MM. Cut that up into eight slices and it averages into a 9.25MM AAV. It is the fifth highest cap hit among NHL defenceman at this time.

Nurse was set to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2021-22 NHL season. His new deal starts in 2022-23, it will take him all the way to the end of the 2029-30 NHL season.

Six million in signing bonuses for the last four years of the deal makes this deal unable to be bought out.

9.25MM a year is a big ol’ chunk of change. Recently, big deals given to Columbus’ Zach Werenski and Chicago’s Seth Jones have pushed the price of defencemen over the top. Nurse’s agent struck while the iron was hot.

The deal? Oh yeah, it’s rich. Too rich, but like I wrote last week, the Oilers held almost zero leverage in any deal that didn’t involve a trade. It’s a lot of cap space committed to Darnell Nurse. Nurse is unquestionably the club’s best defenceman at this time, but Ken Holland made a lot of moves over the last six weeks that have made that all the more apparent. The left side is already in trouble as Duncan Keith projects to be this club’s second defenceman. Losing Nurse was simply not something that Ken Holland couldn’t have left to chance. There’s always the chance that Holland could have swung a deal, after seeing Holland’s recent performances, I’m not so sure that would’ve helped the Oilers much.

An extension couldn’t have come at a better time for Nurse, who had a career year for goals and points in 2021. It was a year that saw him shoot 10.4%, which is more than twice his career average. It was a year that he finished seventh in Norris voting.

It’s a year that we will hope to see again, about nine more times.