“Locked and Loaded. Let's Go”: Twitter reacts to Darnell Nurse's new mega-deal

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Darnell Nurse signed. The Internet exploded. Here are some of the reactions, mostly from Twitter:

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Donovan McNabb @donovanjmcnabb, ex-NFL great and Nurse’s uncle
Lock and Loaded….. let’s Go

Oilers fan Tyson Munro @Tys35
Reasons Darnell Nurse is a #1 defenceman:
1) Have you seen our defencemen?

Stat Boy Steven 🇳🇱 🇮🇪 @StatBoy_Steven

Darnell Nurse:
Only UFA years
9m would be 11.04% of the cap when signed

Leon Draisaitl:
5 RFA years, 3 UFA years
8.5m was 11.33% of the cap when signed

Oilers fan Jason Adams @AdamsOnHockey
Since I’m getting flak from the peanut gallery anyway:
Darnell Nurse was first in the NHL in XGF, by a lot.
Darnell Nurse was last in the NHL by XGA, again, by a lot.
He had a very good year offensively, but he gave up an awful lot defensively as well.
I like Nurse as much as anyone, he had a great year, but 8×9 ties Nurse for the fourth highest cap hit in the league among defencemen.
Giving him this deal in a year he shot over double his career average in shooting percentage is… well.
Full Oiler, if you will.

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Oilers fan Nathan @NBordzy
Darnell Nurse is my favourite player and I can easily admit this is an overpay of 3 million.

Oilers fan Kai @NHL_Kai
Darnell Nurse should not make more than Leon Draisaitl 👍

World Hockey Report @worldhockeyrpt
Theory: if the Oilers don’t trade Caleb Jones then Chicago doesn’t get Seth Jones and extend him $9.5M then Darnell Nurse’s number is $8M.

EvolvingWild @EvolvingWild
I feel like to balance out the universe, the Oilers need to have a really bad season, and then McDavid will request a trade. Like Jack Eichel.

Calgary Flames blogger D’Arcy McGrath @calgarypuckcom
This is making it really really clear that the Oilers don’t look into advanced stats at all.
His defensive metrics are 6th defenseman level.

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Calgary Flames blogger Matchsticks & Gasoline @MatchsticksCGY
I am not an Oilers fan, but I am very much a Ken Holland fan.

Oilers fan @Josephk90
Bridging Nurse was never the problem. Not having the deal worked out so he signed it the first day he could was. What if the Blue jackets don’t trade Jones. Does he even get that contract? It just all went wrong at the end. Oh well. The market is the market. Hopefully they win in this window. I wouldn’t be shocked of nurse ask for trade in 5 years anyways of McDavid walks. But that’s problems for the future.

Oilers fan Paul Almeida @AzorcanGlobal
Some DMing me that the #Oilers should have let Nurse walk.
Just 2 questions.

1. What similar D are you replacing him with, at less cost & who is willing to sign long term in #Edmonton
2. What message are you sending 29 & 97 if you don’t sign the 3rd core member of the Oilers?

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PuckPedia @PuckPedia
If you take the 2 *$5.6M Bridge Deal Nurse signed in Feb ’20 & then 6 years * $9.25M as a UFA, that’s the equivalent of him signing in Feb ’20 for 8 years * $8.34M.

The bridge worked out to trading off:
-2 years @$5.6M instead of $8.34M, followed by
-6 @$9.25M instead of $8.34M

Oilers fan Mohammad Jaber @Moe_Jaber
Darnell Nurse is a good defenseman. The #Oilers absolutely overpaid on a long-term deal, but a big part of that is the 2021 summer featured a horny market for defensemen.

The Athletic writer Jonathan Willis @JonathanWillis
I don’t know how Nurse is going to age – some defencemen are really good in their early-to-mid 30s, some are really bad – but I’m always astonished that well-paid NHL GMs sign off on these ‘if the deal goes bad, you’re hooped’ nightmare contract structures.

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Flames fan James Johnson 🔥 @JamesJohnsonYYC
Ken Holland woke up from his nap feeling dangerous 👍
-Traded for Duncan Keith 🔥🔥
-Re-signed Devin Shore 🤌🤌
-Re-signed Mike Smith 😎😎
-Re-signed Tyson Barrie 😤😤
-Signed Cody Ceci 🥶🥶
-Gave Zach Hyman a 7 year deal 😈
-Re-signed Nurse @ 9.25 million 🗣
#SummerOfKenny

Oilers fan Brett Jeffrey @fields1096
Oilers Twitter is ruthless, man.
I’m sure glad all these arm chair GM’s aren’t actually running the team. They would be last place in the league because they wouldn’t get anyone to sign here.

Oilers fan Dennis King @DKingBH

The Oilers don’t know how to value their own players. Zack Kassian re-upped. The Oilers don’t know how to value their own players. Bear out and Barrie back. The Oilers don’t know how to value their own players. Nurse lives off McDavid and scores a bunch of foolish goals. 9.25 x 8…. This is where you depend on pro scouting to replenish stores because you cannot sign this contract. You just can’t. Nurse doesn’t have the ability to cover bet and he’s getting older, too. It’s a big difference to ink Makar than Nurse. You have to walk away and they didn’t… The minute you start paying players based on them “wanting to stay” is the minute you start to look for new players. Did Nurse want to stay in Edm or did he want a massive overpay? I wonder what it was! If Nurse “wanted to stay in Edm” he would have taken something like 7 mill at 4 years to give the team room to move and then he gets paid once the cap pops again.

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Oilers fan Alan Hull @alanhull
Remember that time I (among others) was suggesting trading Nurse might be a good idea for like forever because his market value exceeded his actual value?
Today’s the day the team pays the price (literally) for not doing so.
Jeezus.

Hockey columnist Ken Campbell at his blog
The market was pretty well set. And if Nurse, knowing the Oilers could not lose him, had demanded $9.75 million so that he could have the highest cap hit among those players, he probably could have received it. Or he could have had another big year, waited for next summer and held the Oilers hostage with the prospect of walking away as an unrestricted free agent. Discuss among yourselves whether a 27-year-old will be worth $9.25 million per season on an eight-year deal, but given the circumstances, Nurse did the Oilers a solid.

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Allan Mitchell of Lowetide at The Athletic:
I believe Nurse will hold his value to an NHL team over the course of the deal. He won’t always play with McDavid and he may never post a shooting percentage close to last season, but he’s fast as lightning, big, strong, tough and can defend. Unless NHL general managers are hired from an alien gene pool sometime in the next eight years, Nurse will be an attractive target in trade should a situation arise that makes it possible and necessary.
For the organization, despite the enormous cap hit, I don’t see a tremendous amount of risk. Holland is focused on winning a Stanley Cup before Draisaitl reaches free agency in summer 2025. Every ounce of money and talent is being focused on the next four seasons.

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If things don’t work out, and Draisaitl exits, followed by McDavid the next year, Nurse should hold enough value for the club to receive assets in exchange for what will likely be a complete rebuild.

My take

  1. I wish Darnell Nurse had signed a four or five year deal, maybe for a more money if that’s what it took. I acknowledge he’s not a perfect player, that he’s got significant holes in his defensive game that he still needs to address, most notably his defensive reads in his own zone. That said, I’m more in favour of this new contract than against it. I’d say there’s a 66 per cent chance that at the end of it most of us agree it was the right move for Holland to make. But that positive spin on this deal is predicated on the Oilers winning a Stanley Cup or two, and Nurse being a key player in that Cup victory or those victories.
  2. I was far more certain that the Leon Draisaitl contract — which was also controversial — would work out. But given that Nurse has kept improving his game each year, and given what he brings in terms of size, ferocity, and offensive thrust, my bet is he can continue to get better for the new few years. Given his commitment to excellence, there’s a good chance he can maintain his high level of play into his early 30s.
  3. We can’t overlook one huge intangible — that to keep a team together in Edmonton, the stronger the ties between the top players, the better. Nurse, Draisaitl and Connor McDavid are said to be a tight group. Having them all on long-term deals gives hope that the Oilers will stay together long enough to reach their full potential as a team. Nurse’s signing in certainly a major step in that team building. But make no mistake, Nurse still needs to take a step up in terms of his defensive play. He gets beat too often one-on-one for a player of his physical ability and he wanders a bit too much. The good news? Those are mental skills that continue to improve for NHL d-men over time. They get better into their early 30s in regards to their understanding and managing of the game. The same should happen with Nurse.

At the Cult

STAPLES: Will Oilers fans rejoice or retch at Holland’s many momentous moves from this summer?

McCURDY: Nurse signs

STAPLES: Edmonton Oilers need to be careful to avoid a Karlsson/Doughty overpay with Darnell Nurse, NHL insider suggests

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