The Edmonton Oilers and defender Darnell Nurse have come to terms on a two-year contract extension worth a shade over $5.5 million per season according to Bob McKenzie. As Darren Dreger would mention, the actual number appears to $5.6 million annually which would bring the total to $11.2 million over two seasons.
This contract will be a healthy raise for Nurse as his current two-year deal carries a $3.2 million annual cap hit. With the 25-year-old’s deal ending this season, however, the Oilers had to figure out a new deal with Nurse and the two sides opted for a bridge-deal rather than a long-term blockbuster signing.
This deal would hypothetically take Nurse, who was set to become a restricted free agent come July 1, to free agency in 2022 as an unrestricted free agent capable of signing with any of the 31 teams in the league.
While this is true, McKenzie would report that the two sides plan on signing a long-term extension in the 2021 offseason with this current deal serving as a way for the Oilers to manage salary cap restraints next season.
This is a good step for the Oilers as they are finally starting to look like a team capable of competing not only in the regular season but the postseason as well.
2019-20 Season Has Seen Oilers Resurgence
With a 29-20-6 record and 64 points, the Oilers currently occupy second place in the Pacific Division and are just one point behind the Vancouver Canucks with a game-in-hand.
It certainly appears like the Oilers are going to make a run at the playoffs this year which would mark their first time playing postseason hockey since the 2016-17 season. Even more, it will be only the second postseason appearance for the Oilers since the 2005-06 season that saw them lose in seven games in the Stanley Cup Final.
Following that Stanley Cup Final appearance, the Oilers would win 40 or more games just twice and failed to make the postseason in 10 consecutive seasons.
With a young core at the helm, however, things are starting to look up for a team that once dominated the NHL for so many years.
Included in that list is Nurse who has proven to be everything the Oilers hoped he would be when they selected him with the seventh pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Coming off of a season that saw him score 10 goals and 41 points in 82 games, Nurse is now up to four goals and 24 points in 55 games while averaging 22:45 of ice time per game.
Signing a bridge deal like this, even with the expectation that a long-term deal will be reached in a year and a half, is a risky move that could pay off for Nurse when all is said and done. For now, he’ll help the Oilers with their cap concerns before ultimately cashing in on what should be a very lucrative contract.