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Would You Pay Darnell Nurse $9.25M Per Year?


added 3:01pm, signing is official, press release is below.

(Edmonton, AB) - The Edmonton Oilers have signed defenceman and alternate captain Darnell Nurse to an eight-year contract extension with an average annual value (AAV) of $9.25 million. The contract will begin in the 2022-23 season.

Nurse, 26, appeared in all 56 games with the Oilers during the shortened 2020-21 season, posting 36 points (16G, 20A), 57 penalty minutes and a +27 plus/minus rating. He ranked second among Oilers defencemen in points (36), assists (20), hits (117) and blocked shots (100), as well as ranked second among all NHL defencemen in goals (16). Nurse led the Oilers in average time on ice (25:38) and finished third in the NHL in total time on ice (1435:00). He also played in four playoff games, notching one assist and two penalty minutes.

The 6’4”, 221-pound blueliner has appeared in 406 career NHL games, all with Edmonton, registering 157 points (45G,112A), 352 penalty minutes and a +20 plus/minus rating.  Nurse set career highs in 2020-21 posting a career best 16 goals and recorded a career/Oilers-high in single game time on ice, playing 62:07 on May 24 in game four of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against Winnipeg.

The Hamilton, Ontario native has appeared in 21 career NHL playoff games with Edmonton, recording five assists and 14 penalty minutes. 

Nurse ranks 10th in Oilers all-time defencemen scoring with 157 points, as well ranks 5th in goals (45), 11th in games (406), 12th in assists (112) and average time on ice (22:18).

Nurse was selected by Edmonton in the first round, 7th overall at the 2013 NHL Draft.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink


Down River Dan's avatar

Would You Pay Darnell Nurse $9.25M Per Year?

For Kenny’s sake, I hope he can play net also…. tongue laugh

Posted by Down River Dan on 08/06/21 at 01:35 PM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

Nope. Seems too expensive for a defenseman. McDavid is worth the big bucks because he puts people in the seats. I wouldn’t want to sign any player to an 8 yr contract as most don’t end up working out well in the end.

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 08/06/21 at 01:51 PM ET


First reaction: Who is Darnell Nurse?
Second reaction: He’s not named Draisaitl or McDavid, so $9.25/year for max term seems nuts.
Third reaction: What the hell is Kenny thinking?

Posted by beardChamp on 08/06/21 at 02:55 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Assuming the numbers are correct, and the cap goes up 1.5 mil,  as I believe I saw the other day. McDavid, Draisetal, Nurse would be around 37% of the Cap….How’s that working out in Toronto..???

I’m not a GM, don’t even play one on TV, and I didn’t sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I’m not sure you can spend nearly 40% of your cap on 4 players (throw in anyone of five guys on the oilers making 5.5mil and your over 40%) and win the Cup without a lot of things breaking your way.

Posted by Down River Dan on 08/06/21 at 03:00 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Edmonton press release added to the post.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 08/06/21 at 03:03 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I don’t know enough about him to say anything one way or another.  Looking at Nurse’s stats though, he was +27 last year while averaging 25:38/game.  Those are tough numbers to come by, ties him for ninth in the league with +/-, and he played more minutes than the guys ahead of him.

Posted by TreKronor on 08/06/21 at 03:04 PM ET


Edmonton will rue the day they signed Holland to that 5 year $25 million contract before the time is up. He is showing the same fiscal irresponsibility as when he was in his last 10 years with the Wings. Good riddance.

Posted by exor54 on 08/06/21 at 03:06 PM ET


Hard to blame Kenny, this is the going rate of scoring defensemen
Hamilton - 9
Makar - 9
Jones - 9.5
Heiskanen - 8.45

I’d say Nurse is squarely in that crop of defensemen

Down River Dan, it’s not working for Toronto, because all of their stars are forwards. It’s working out wonderfully for Tampa

Kucherov - 9.5
Point - 9.5
Vasilevsky - 9.5
Hedmen - 7.875
Stamkos - 8.5

that’s 54% of the cap with 5 players.

Posted by Jdunc from Flint, MI on 08/06/21 at 03:28 PM ET


One thing Simmons had right is some teams pay a tax
for being a smaller market, or worse climate, of less recent history of
winning/chance to win now. Some teams (Tampa, Boston) seem to develop a culture
where everyone takes a little less and the players know that’s in exchange for having a chance to win every year.

Nurse had a big all around season last year.
They really needed him to re-sign. Lose Klefbom (maybe won’t ever be
healthy enough) and lose Larsson (no idea what happened there)
and they need the former’s offense and the latter’s tough, physical D even more.
I’m not endorsing what Kenny’s doing overall (the forward lines look a little better and more balanced; the D looks worse; how on earth did he bring back both goalies?) But 9M+ has become the going rate if you want to lock up your #1 D, even if he’s not top-ten league wide.

Seems like either Kenny and the two superstar centers break through in the next couple to few years - or the McDavid era in Edmonton (and maybe the peak of his career) is over with very little to show for it. Hate to see the mess that’s left after but Kenny has every personal and professional incentive to try and win now - or very soon.

Posted by lefty.30 on 08/06/21 at 03:56 PM ET


I don’t think it’s too much of a reach given he is a very productive defenseman and he’ll be 34 (not late 30s) when the contract ends. Ideally they could have got him for a bit less but Edmonton is a tough market to sell.

To find a suitable replacement they’d have pay just as much or get pretty lucky with the draft. As the Wings have seen in the post Lidstrom years, finding a top line defenseman is pretty tough.

How bad this contract is for the Oilers will be measured in playoff success during its term and if the cap can start climbing once again.

At least, unlike Toronto, they aren’t putting all their money in forwards.

This is nothing like the contracts Holland awarded to the likes of Abdelkader or Helm. It’s closer to the DeKeyser contract but Nurse is a better defenseman that Dekeyser.

Posted by evileye on 08/06/21 at 04:21 PM ET


I get the ragging on Toronto, and honestly, Im super happy to see them fail.  But honestly, they are going to break through, they had a tough loss against Montreal… but they would have IMO steamrolled the rest of the teams Montreal played.  Tampa would have been an interesting battle… but if you watch the leafs play, they are deadly, they can change the game in a blink of an eye.  The last few years, Dubas has been rounding out with a compromise on adding some toughness, some veterans, some grit… he’s very close to the winning formula.  Will Campbell be as good this year? Thats the big question, and with Mrzaek… thats a huge question mark. 
Probably the last year they keep it all together without a deep run, but if they won the cup I wouldn’t blink an eye. (as dissapointed as I’d be)
Edmonton going the same model is not a problem, other than ti’s way harder to get guys to want to live there.

Posted by DieByTheWing on 08/06/21 at 04:31 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Good luck on that, Kenny. 

Nurse played a whole helluva lot of minutes against WPG in last spring’s playoffs; almost 28 minutes in one game.  Most of the time, I saw Mantha-esque floating around.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 08/06/21 at 04:44 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Jesus, that’s a large contract for Nurse. Good for him for getting paid, but yikes.

KH must have put an extra zero in the “Cap going up next year” number.

Posted by RedMenace from A Tormented Hellscape on 08/06/21 at 05:02 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Posted by Jdunc from Flint, MI on 08/06/21 at 03:28 PM ET

I’d still say that $9.25m/yr is too much for Nurse. However, I don’t blame KH so much for this. He has to pay a premium to get players to stay.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 08/06/21 at 05:17 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

I’m with beardChamp on this one.

Edmonton is still in Canuckistan right?

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, sing along The YzerMan Can!...... on 08/06/21 at 06:58 PM ET

damndog revenge   From the bowels of Detroit's avatar

The 9 mill may be the going rate but that term is too long.

Posted by damndog revenge From the bowels of Detroit on 08/06/21 at 07:47 PM ET

Colossal Cap Hit's avatar

Way too much and also mostly based off one shortened season in the North Division.

Ideally Holland should have spent the first two years on arranging his pieces in a way to avoid a situation where he has to rationalize overpaying someone like Nurse. This is a case where they’re afraid of the unknown so they overpay for the known even though in reality the monster of the unknown isn’t as scary as they think. I’ve seen teams ice competent defenses with pieces that are not exciting on paper. Dave Tippett as a coach could deliver that.

Here the Oilers went into panic mode by convincing themselves there is no life without Nurse, and so they added a million to a rational max offer, and another, and one more million won’t hurt, you can save cap from somewhere else, that type of thing. They could’ve found competent players to handle defensive duties on Nurse’s level at a fraction of the cost. They had no need to overpay for Nurse’s offense since they already have in-house offensive options to not commit so much cap to Nurse. When you believe something is indispensable, it becomes self-fulfilling. Nurse is a good player, but he’s not a 9.25m player.

Posted by Colossal Cap Hit on 08/07/21 at 10:44 AM ET

Primis's avatar

The AAV is meh, fine.  The term and the NMC/NTC are bonkers and totally a Ken Holland thing.

In a few years when Holland is gone from EDM, that contract will be someone else’s albatross.

Posted by Primis on 08/07/21 at 09:56 PM ET


Apparently Nurse and McDavid are pretty tight.

Not that McDavid is going to stay just for that reason if they don’t
start going on some playoff runs fast - and not Holland will be around anyway.

Maybe it’s only a two year deal but this is where no salary retention and throwing around picks (2 #2s and a #4 for barely anything from AA and Green - I’d almost forgotten). Then the pick and zero retention to Chicago. Who wanted Caleb to appeal to Seth pretty badly.

Holland appeared blindsided by Larsson leaving. How does that happen?
Maybe by taking an important player for granted while catering to others?
Their prospects - at least one maybe two of them - on D had better be top-four good - and in a hurry.

Then there’s the Cody Ceci signing. Solid season in Pittsburgh but
man are they making a gamble an aged and slower Keith and Ceci are an effective second pairing. Years go by and Kris Russell is still going to be moved up to the second pairing to help defend. The D looks pretty thin now in terms of established players. They need Bouchard to perform in a big way. It gets harder to find a replacement goalie if Smith gets hurt or both struggle when you’ve traded so many picks.

One thing is clear: the post-Holland era is gonna be a massive hangover.

Posted by lefty.30 on 08/08/21 at 05:29 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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