This one probably dragged out longer than the Edmonton Oilers would have hoped but they are likely thrilled that the deal is now over and done with and they can now began to move forward in their preparation for the 2018 - 2019 National Hockey League regular season.
According to a breaking news report from Sportsnet NHL insider John Shannon, defenseman Darnell Nurse of the Edmonton Oilers, a player that was currently a restricted free agent, has agreed to a new deal with the Edmonton Oilers. While Shannon himself has not disclosed the financial details of the deal at this time, a report from NHL Numbers is claiming that the deal will pay Nurse an average annual value of $3.2 million per season. We are still waiting for a solid source before confirming the term length of the deal which at this time is still unclear.
Reports in the last 24 hours, especially those that came after the Winnipeg Jets signed defenseman Josh Morrissey to a deal with an average annual value of $3.15 million, suggested that the Nurse camp was valuing their player at somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 million per season. Oilers reporter Dustin Nielson of TSN seemingly confirmed those reports on Sunday although he did so while adding that NHL insider Darren Dreger, his colleague at TSN, informed him that he would be surprised if the Oilers ended up giving Nurse more than $3 million per season.
Thankfully for both Nurse and the Oilers the 23 year old blue liner took a big step forward in his development during the 2017 - 2018 NHL regular season, if only due to the fact that it was his first time playing a full NHL season for the Oilers organization. Nurse appeared in all 82 games and would go on to record 5 goals and 20 assists for a total of 26 points over the regular season, pretty solid for a defenseman on a losing team. Perhaps most impressive of all however was the fact that Nurse finished the season with a plus minus rating of +15 in spite of the fact that his team went out and gave an incredibly lackluster performance overall during the season.
The fact that Morrissey received an average annual value of $3.15 million per season led many to believe that the young Jets defenseman had set the market for Nurse and many believed that he would earn no less than what Morrissey had received from the Jets. As it turns out those beliefs were in fact correct with Nurse earning just slightly more than Morrissey did, something that may have been a sticking point for both Nurse and his camp.
I have been extremely critical of Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli and his management of the Oilers since joining the organization, and while I stand by those criticisms it seems like he may have pulled off a pretty shrewd deal here. As I mentioned above it sounds like Nurse's camp was seeking upwards of $4 million per season and there's no doubt that this is significantly less than what they were looking for.
Update: Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman is reporting that this is a two year deal.