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Photo Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

McKenzie: Oilers, Nurse examining two-year contract extension

The Edmonton Oilers and RFA defenceman Darnell Nurse are engaged in discussions surrounding a contract extension, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports.

Discussions have picked up between Nurse and the Oilers following the signing of Zack Kassian last week, and McKenzie said during Insider Trading Tuesday night they are examining a two-year deal at a number “maybe less than $6-million a year.”

Bob McKenzie: Talks have been progressing. Over the last seven to 10 days after the Kassian deal was done, the Oilers and have had some considerable discussion that seems to be headed in the right direction. Now it’s not by any stretch a done deal but they are making progress. Now in an ideal world, the Oilers and would do a six- or seven- or eight-year long term deal but the Oilers can’t do that because of their cap situation. They just can’t. Especially in the next year or two, it’s problematic. So the likely solution is to do maybe a two-year deal with . I know Edmonton Oilers fans are going to say “oh my goodness in two years he’ll be an unrestricted free agent, you’re walking him to free agency.” That’s not really the point here. wants to be an Oiler long term and the Oilers know that he is a core player. But they’ve got to overcome that cap problem and by doing a two-year deal at some number maybe less than $6 million a year. It would satisfy the short term needs of Nurse but it would also allow for the possibility of coming back a year from now and doing a long-term deal that gets them over the salary cap crunch so we’ll keep an eye on these negotiations. tsn.ca.

The news is a stark difference to news the Nurse camp was seeking $8-million a year for the 25-year-old. Nonetheless, with Edmonton heading into the offseason with roughly $18-million in cap space and a seemingly neverending list of free-agents to re-sign, a short-term deal for Nurse may allow for the Oilers to have more flexibility when it comes to other negotiations in the summertime.

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And part of it too is we still don’t really know what Nurse is and how he should be paid. He shows offensive flashes that suggest he may be a top-end puck-moving defenceman, but then has incredibly costly turnovers while trying to do so other times. In his own end he still, at times, seems to be finding his way.

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A two-year deal could very well be a “prove it” contract.

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Top six trade help

Jan 12, 2020; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers left wing Mike Hoffman (68) reacts to a goal during the first period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Also mentioned during the Insider Trading segment Tuesday night was Pierre LeBrun reporting that atop the Oilers trade deadline wishlist was a top-six forward. He quickly segued that into how the Florida Panthers could be looking to trade Mike Hoffman for a defenceman.

Pierre LeBrun: We mentioned with the Oilers before the trade deadline that a top-six forward would be top of their list in terms of potentially buying. I can’t tell you this particular player will be on their radar but I can tell you some teams have shown interest in of the Florida Panthers. Now the Panthers of course sitting in a playoff spot so it’s not like they’re shopping players or trying to get rid of players, but I do think they would listen on . They asked for his 10-team no-trade list in late December, it was submitted and I think at the bottom line with Florida is this they are a high-scoring team, they have young players coming up the pipeline, comes to mind, who can fill in if they ever dealt Hoffman. The bottom line is Florida needs a defensive addition on the backend. That’s what would make it happen. It doesn’t mean they’ll move him, this could be something that plays out until the end of the year. tsn.ca.

Hoffman would be a great scoring addition to the Oilers top six. He’s scored nearly 60 points per season and the lowest goal total in his nine-year career still saw him pot 22 goals.

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LeBrun was clear that he wasn’t sure if Hoffman was on the Oilers radar, but it would be a great pickup for the club nonetheless.

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On Twitter: @zjlaing