Warm summer nights start to cool off around the end of August here in Alberta.
The grass will soon start to brown as leaves fall off the trees and the apples on the trees in your backyard will soon fall to the ground.
July 1st was a wonderful time. We still had the warm summer nights and the grass was a deep green. It also marked the first day that free agents of any kind were able to sign with teams previous to the ones they played for seasons prior.
52 days ago, it was time for Darnell Nurse to get serious about contract talks with the Edmonton Oilers. 52 days later, we are still sitting on our couches, beets in hand, wondering when Nurse is going to sign his contract with the Oilers.
We have seen almost every possible defenceman sign a deal with a team from the Jack Johnson’s of the world, right up to the Jakub Jerabek’s.
It begs the question — how much longer until the Oilers are going to ink Nurse?
We have seen contract holdouts come to an end for defencemen this summer by the likes of Anaheim Duck Brandon Montour, who inked a two-year, $3.38-millon per year deal on July 24 and New York Ranger Brady Skjei, who signed for six-years at $5.25-million per year.
I mentioned these two as it highlights the options the Edmonton Oilers have when it comes to signing Nurse. Does the team go the bridge route a la Montour, or do they go for the long-term deal a la Skej?
These are the million dollar questions being thrown around by Oilers brass and Nurse’s agent, Anton Thun. In mid-July, Thun told Jim Matheson that it was likely going to be a bridge-deal signed — which becomes even more apparent given the Oilers meager $3.9-million in cap space.
If that’s the case, then what is taking so long?
Could it be that Thun wants $4.5-million even on a bridge-deal? Who knows.
For one, I am okay with the Oilers playing hardball with Nurse. It’s something the team hasn’t done often in the past and frankly, it shows Nurse and Thun they are serious about starting the season with him on the sidelines.
It’s controversial given that the Oilers have now lost Andrej Sekera to an off-season Achilles tear likely sidelining him for the season.
Right now, the Oilers depth chart looks a little bit grim without Sekera or Nurse.
Bringing out pairings of Klefbom – Larsson, Benning – Jerabek and Russell – Gravel/Bouchard/Bear isn’t going to be ideal.
But the Oilers have a brief window to let it fly.
The team’s pre-season starts on Sept. 17 with a matchup against the Calgary Flames, while their first regular season game isn’t played until Oct. 6.
With that, the Oilers will have nine games to decide whether Evan Bouchard is ready to play in the NHL — an opportunity I think the team will be giving him.
None the less, it will be interesting to see how the next number of weeks play out and when Nurse will cross the t’s and dot the i’s of his next NHL contract.
NURSE’S CAREER SO FAR