Oilers News & Rumors: Benson, Koekkoek, Turris, Nurse Deal Details

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, the Oilers have inked forward Tyler Benson to a new deal, the team is looking at adding another depth defenseman and there’s talk about how dedicated Kyle Turris is to being an impact player next season. Finally, after the dust has settled on the Darnell Nurse deal, have fans come to see this extension as one that has a benefit to the team? Perhaps there’s another way to look at the extension.

Oilers Sign Tyler Benson

A player many fans thought the Oilers might lose during the NHL Expansion Draft, the organization has inked forward Tyler Benson to a new one-year, two-way contract extension ($750K at the NHL level). Because Adam Larsson was selected by the Seattle Kraken, the Oilers hung onto a player that could compete for a job in Edmonton this season and provide some depth skill should forwards struggle, injuries happen, or Benson simply plays too well to ignore him.

If he makes the club or gets called up, as Bob Stauffer points out, he will compete with Devin Shore and Brendan Perlini for a LW spot in the bottom six. During his AHL career, Benson has scored 141 points in 156 regular season games. He does need to clear waivers for the upcoming season, so if he gets called up, there’s a good chance it’s because the Oilers intend to give him a long look.

Slater Koekkoek Returning to Edmonton?

There’s talk that the Oilers might be looking to add another depth defenseman to the roster before training camp. I noted in the rumors rundown yesterday that Jordie Benn might be on the Oilers radar but Koekkoek has a real shot at returning this coming season.

Slater Koekkoek Chicago Blackhawks
Slater Koekkoek, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Oilers didn’t get to see all they wanted to with Koekkoek last year. An injury limited him to only 18 Oilers games after having a decent run with the Chicago Blackhawks. Head coach Dave Tippett seemed to rely on Koekkoek in a depth role when he was available to them and he may want to give the blueliner another go.

It would likely be a league minimum deal if the Oilers were to sign an extension.

Turris Looking Good this Offseason?

Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal notes that Turris is training hard and looking to prove himself to the Oilers this coming season. After a disappointing 2020-21 campaign, he’s got one more shot (his contract expires at the end of the season) to show he’s an option for Edmonton, even if it isn’t at the third-line center spot the team envisioned.

Leavins writes:

I see the Oilers giving Kyle Turris every opportunity to earn the 13th F position. If he can do it Turris would be a very useful piece. He has on his resume many of the traits required, like flexibility, an adept faceoff man and solid 2-way play. Turris has committed his summer in Edmonton on an aggressive training program. We all know how last year went (or didn’t). But I give the guy credit for putting in the work.

source – ‘The Nurse deal part of an on-going commitment from the Edmonton Oilers ownership to keep their core intact: 9 Things’ – Kurt Leavins – Edmonton Journal – 08/082/2021

The Nurse Deal Nearly One Week Later

It’s still a polarizing contract, but nearly one week after Darnell Nurse was given an eight-year extension worth $74 million, fans in Edmonton might be starting to come around a little bit. Not everyone hated the deal, but media and other insiders have spoken about the positives of the contract, many believing Nurse will progress into a player who can outplay the $9.25 million price tag.

Darnell Nurse Edmonton Oilers
Darnell Nurse, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

One thing that might help fans is by looking at Nurse’s deal as a nine-year contract. He has one more season on the books at $5.6 million before the new extension kicks in. He played so well last year that had he been up for a contract extension now, he still would have gotten the $9 million or so. With that in mind, if you count this coming season as part of the average salary for Nurse over the next nine seasons, his AAV is $8.84 million.

I know, that’s not really how these contracts work, but it’s one way to wrap one’s head around how the Oilers might have felt giving him that deal now.

And, for fans who ask why the Oilers didn’t just wait a little bit to see if Nurse was going to be able to repeat last year’s success before signing him to an extension part way through the year, consider there is a real risk to not showing confidence in a player who already signed two bridge deals because the Oilers didn’t know what he was. So too, giving him a chance to head closer to unrestricted free agency and knowing the market is what it is would have been a risk. Had he stepped up his level of play even more, his number would have increased, not gone the other way.