Where there’s smoke…
With a spate of signings of high-end defencemen around the National Hockey League in the last short while, speculation has been on the rise that the Edmonton Oilers have been negotiating a big-ticket extension with their own #1 rearguard, Darnell Nurse.
Nothing official just yet, but things have gotten to the point that Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman reports the following on both term and cap hit:
Nurse has one year remaining on his current contract at $5.6 million, meaning an extension won’t kick in until 2022-23. Once it does, if Friedman’s report proves accurate the Oilers will be committed to north of $30 million per annum on their “inner core” of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Nurse.
That will make the job of building, and retaining, a supporting cast all the more challenging in the years to come.
While some will question the wisdom of Nurse carrying a heavier cap hit than Draisaitl, who has Hart, Lindsay and Ross trophies in his cabinet, the circumstances of their signings were entirely different. Draisaitl was signed to an 8-year, $8.5 million pact in the summer of 2017 at the end of his Entry Level Contract, with that term, evenly split between RFA and UFA years. For his part Nurse signed a pair of two-year bridge deals, with Annual Average Values of $3.2 million and $5.6 million respectively, then proceeded to outperform the first three years of those pacts. To compare their career progressions on more level ground, Draisaitl will have earned $68 million on the eight years following the expiry of his ELC, Nurse a net $54.6 million over the same span.