If the Edmonton Oilers were looking to extend Darnell Nurse on a contract extension that would make adding other pieces around him doable, there may be bad news for the organization if the report of what Nurse is asking for on an extension is accurate.
Having recently signed Zack Kassian to a fairly reasonable contract, repeating that task might not be so easy when it comes to getting a Nurse deal done. Edmonton- based journalist Jim Matheson is reporting that Nurse’s reps are using Jacob Trouba’s contract as a comparable. That means, Nurse is seeking $8 million per season.
First off, Trouba’s deal is an outlier on the high end of the scale so the likelihood Nurse gets that kind of money is slim. That said, because the Rangers ponied up what they did for the former Winnipeg Jets d-man, Nurse has every right to use Trouba’s numbers to qualify himself in terms of value to the Oilers blue line. At the same time, the Oilers will likely use Josh Morrissey’s $6.25 million contract when pitching their offer.
The expectation is that Nurse will fall somewhere in between.
Coming off of his two-year bridge deal and with only two seasons of team control left, if the Oilers want to lock up Nurse long-term now, he’s going to want to hit it out of the park and account for any major bumps in salary over the next five-to-seven seasons. He’ll be giving away a number of his unrestricted free agency years.
What Is Nurse Actually Worth?
The saying goes, if you trade a player like Nurse, you immediately have to start looking for a player like Nurse. If so, is there really a better option on the market than what the Oilers already have in this player?
While his offensive numbers are down, Nurse has had a solid season in a top-four role alongside rookie defender Ethan Bear. Bear has been a revelation for the team but Nurse’s play alongside him shouldn’t be ignored. With 22 points through 52 games, Nurse is still on pace for around a 35-point season. Thus, when it comes to comparable contracts, the Morrissey deal is much more reflective of the kinds of numbers Nurse has put up over the past couple of seasons.
The real question Edmonton needs to ask is, ‘What exactly is Darnell Nurse?’ If he’s a true No. 1, the Oilers can comfortably creep closer to the $7 million mark. If he’s not, they might want to consider moving him if he’s stuck on making anything more.
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