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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Nurse: “I wouldn’t come to camp without a contract”

Training camp is right around the corner and the Oilers and restricted free agent Darnell Nurse still haven’t reached an agreement on a new contract. According to the young defender, he won’t be attending training camp without a contract.

“I wouldn’t come to camp without a contract. Hopefully, we get something done before camp so that I can be out there the first day. That’s the goal.

I’m not the only one in this situation. There’s a couple other guys. I don’t think I’m surprised. Obviously, you go into the summer you think something will be done, especially going through it the first time you think something will be done right away, but it’s an educating process.” – Sportsnet 

This really isn’t an abnormal situation. Those without contracts obviously won’t attend training camp because of the risk of injury associated with playing, so it isn’t like Nurse is unique here. There are also a handful of other unsigned RFAs out there — Toronto’s William Nylander, Vegas’ Shea Theodore, and Winnipeg’s Josh Morrisey to name a few — so, again, this isn’t something to panic about. If the Oilers start playing pre-season games and Nurse doesn’t have a deal, well, then we can probably start to worry a little bit.

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Nurse said recently that he’s optimistic about getting something worked out before training camp begins.

The Oilers, of course, are in a tight cap situation. They have just under $4 million to work with for the 2018-19 season.



  • lee

    Can’t see it being anything more that 2X 3.5 mill. If Nurse wants more then move him. Unfortunately he has missed the Peter C over paying era.
    Nurse right now is worth 3.5 , if he wants the big money, he has to put up the points. To me Klefbom and Larsson are 1 and 2 and then there is a drop off. If Sekera was healthy he would be #3 and then Nurse.
    Two years from now Bouchard will be in the top 3.
    Nurse is getting better but he still makes quite a few mistakes and unlike the point getter d men in the league he doesn’t have the offence to make up for the mistakes.
    Take the 3.5 bridge and prove everyone wrong.
    To me the only player on the team that equals the hype machine is McDavid and that’s that.

  • Consultant

    Really hope our new back-up goalie can stop the puck and that he can also handle the puck to help out our dmen. At 2.5 million he needs to be pretty good, at this point it seems it is largely that overpay that is preventing a longer term deal for Nurse.

    • Hockeysense9393

      2.5/m for a goalie that hasn’t been in the league for half a decade. That’s a lot of money for a hopeful? Then again, they would be paying the same money for an NHL goalie having a bad year. Hope it works out.

  • OilersBro

    On a nicer Darnell note, I met his uncle in a bar in Toronto this weekend while with some Alberta boys and he bought us shots after we told him we are from Edmonton haha

  • If Nurse believes in himself he shouldn’t drag this out any further. You don’t get paid on potential when signing a bridge deal. PK Subban signed for 5.75M/2 then won the Norris while on that contract.

    Nurse is going to get big minutes this season and will have have every opportunity to prove his worth. He has so little to gain by dragging this insignificant contract out.

    • Kneedroptalbot

      Nurse should be signed long term 5.75M x 8 yrs. It’s not his fault the Peter Chiarelli mis-managed the salary cap and signed, Strome, Benning, Jerabek and other non-core pieces 1st?? Many teams would be glad to have a quality 23yr old D-man like this signed long term.

    • Jason Gregor

      Subban held out though…missed the first six games of the season. But yes, rarely does player gain anything by sitting out. You just miss out on a payday. Similar to Trouba.

    • Hockeysense9393

      He’s young… some players bet on themselves (like Subban) and then actually do it. Sign a good, but lower “help the team” contract for 2 years and then cash out. What is he, good or great? If he’s good…then yes sign for stability and assurance. If you know you’re great? Then sign that bridge and prove it.

  • KMA

    I don’t blame Nurse one bit. He has a limited window in which to secure his future. Playing a professional sport without a contract is not something a reputable agent or risk manager would advocate for their client. Pete makes more than Nurse and it is due time to start earning his inflated salary. Just do it!

  • Frustrated Fan in Calgary

    Tossed around money and term for UFA’s that didn’t make sense then and looks even worse now. End result is being tight up against the cap and can’t sign an important young player.

  • BringJordanHome

    I’m pretty confident that Nurse will get a contract before main camp starts, I mean it seems like both sides work hard to get a contract done, but of course what the hell do i know?

      • OilerForLife

        They do have to sign Nurse, but this isn’t a long term deal. In my opinion he projects to be a 2-4 D man, however nobody can predict the future. It’s a bridge deal and there is risks for both sides. The Nurse camp has to realize that if they have confidence in Nurse’s ability, then they should settle for less, and a big payday is just around the corner. They should accept a 3 to 3.5 range and this is the reality of the bridge deal.

  • TKB2677

    I really do not understand what the hold up is. In the NHL, teams PAY for points and offense ability. The more points you score, the more money you make, that’s it. It doesn’t necessarily make it right but that is just the way that it is. The Ducks signed Montour to a 2 yr bridge deal at 3.387 mill. Montour played over 20 mins a night, had 9 goals, 32 pts and played a lot on their PP. What Montour is making is considered the absolute high water mark for a dman in the same situation which Nurse is in. I love Nurse but he scored less goals, scored less points than Montour and isn’t a PP dman like Montour is. So like it nor not, he is not worth what Montour makes. Maybe he and his agent think he can get there but the fact is, he physically does not have the numbers to support that much right now. So he needs to take his 2.9-3 mill and be on his way. If he thinks he is worth more, then go out and freaking produce.

    • Redbird62

      The difference betweeen 32 points and 26 points is not that great, and considering Darnell got all his points at even strength and Montour got 14 on the power play, I don’t know that it is a given that Montour is that much better offensively than Nurse. Nurse hits more, blocks more shots and spends more time on the PK. So I am not sure Chiarelli could argue that Nurse is worth 10% less than Montour. I would be fine with a 2 X 3.3 for Nurse.

      • Moneyball

        Nurse dispaeared for the last half of the season offensively anyway. I’m not sure what to make of him but I have no problem with the oilers playing hardball on his contract. RFA’s should get squeezed.

        • Redbird62

          I agree that he struggled more defensively the last half of the season, but he scored 13 points in the second half of the season, so exactly half his total, and 6 points in the last 20 games, so very even distribution of points throughout the year. I also think in the long term interest of relationships, both sides behave fairly and it is fair that RFA’s with no arbitration rights get less all things being equal, but that is not the same as squeezing Nurse for every penny.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Xan’t say I understand the dithering around on Nurse’s contract. It wont be long term the Oil dont have the numbers to make that work,and Nurse’s camp would be nuts to sign anything long term when the Oil dont have the cash to work the numbers, so it is obvious some type of bridge deal will need to suffice.

    The problem I see with this is the Oilers did some over paying of Cagguila, Strome, Koskinen and Benning’s contracts that were totally unnecessary IMHO because no one was beating down the doors for any of them, so Chia had the edge in those negotiations but chose to over pay ( someone not let Chia do any more contract negotiations please ) But I still cant fathom why Chia didnt get Nurse done way back when then sign the other four. The oilers need Nurse signed even more so now with Sekera out. Chia has himself in a corner with no one to blame but himself for this little mess. The Oil could have done the bridge deal and then used what was left over to sign the other four, even if we had let one of the other four walk would the Oil really be in a precarious position? I don’t think so.

    Now we are headed into clusterf*ck territory. How long did Chia leave Draisaitl hanging out in the breeze, now that was a longer term deal with bigger numbers, but I think it shows a sign of not knowing when to get deals done

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        I mentioned before in another comment on a different story that I thought those buyouts were a waste and I still stick by it. I dont think that was smart to waste the buyout you are allotted , especially on those two contracts Gryba’s buyout was the worst for the pittance he was owed and term left. Dont really get some of those decisions, its like KLowe is whispering In Chia’s ear and telling him how to manage things

    • OriginalPouzar

      The Oilers could sign Nurse now and go over the cap and then put Sekera on LTIR on the last day of camp and this would serve to get them cap compliant for day 1. Using LTIR in the off-season (i.e. prior to the 1st day of the season) in this manner would reduce the ultimate amount of the LTIR cushion (i.e. the amount the team could go over the cap).

      For example:

      1) if the Oilers sign Nurse to a longer term deal now that takes them to $81M, they could put Sekera on LTIR on the last day of camp and be compliant but Sekera is “deemed replaced” and they will not be able to go above the $81M

      2) if they sign Nurse to a bridge and the total cap is $79M ($500K under the cap), they can put Sekera on LTIR on day 1 of the regular season and then would be able to go over the cap up to $84.5M (the $5.5M minus the $500K of cap space they had).

      Also, remember, in the first case and in the second case if they do indeed use the LTIR cushion, the team will be over the adjusted accrual limit so will not be accruing any cap space throughout the year and will not be able to add any player later in the year without disposing of equal cap and would also have to make a massive disposition if Sekera is deemed ready to play this year and is activated.

  • overdue

    I see Nurse as a big part of this team’s future and think Chiarelli should have given him a contract before signing a bunch of lesser lights to bigger contracts than they deserve. Just don’t see the logic behind his thinking. His agent must be asking for a lot.