The Edmonton Oilers have agreed to a two-year, $6.4 million contract extension with defenceman Darnell Nurse, according to Sportsnet's John Shannon.
Nurse deal is 6.4 million over 2 years.— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) September 17, 2018
Nurse previously said he wouldn't appear at the team's training camp until he got a new contract. Talks took longer than expected and dragged out until mid-September, but the Oilers were finally able to find middle ground with one of their top young players.
The 6-foot-4 rearguard had played out his entry-level contract, and the Oilers couldn't afford to start the season without Nurse. Andrej Sekera tore an Achilles tendon in the offseason and stands to miss significant time. With Nurse under contract, the Oilers get a big boost as they try to get past a forgettable 2017-18 season.
Drafted seventh overall by the Oilers in 2013, Nurse has gradually gotten better each season. He had six goals and 26 points last season, though it's the physicality and defensively-sound elements that make Nurse a valuable piece of the Oilers' blue line.
In re-signing Nurse, Edmonton GM Peter Chiarelli is pretty much done all of his busy offseason work. He also signed Tobias Rieder to a one-year, $2 million deal, hopefully giving Connor McDavid a speedy and quality linemate.
After falling just one game shy of reaching the Eastern Conference Final in 2017, the Oilers couldn't overcome a difficult first half last season. Injuries to the blue line and frustrating seasons from the likes of Milan Lucic, Adam Larsson and Cam Talbot led to a disappointing year in Edmonton.
Even without Sekera, the Oilers blue line should be productive with Nurse, Larsson, Kris Russell and Oscar Klefbom. As long as they all stay healthy and rebound from 2017-18, the Oilers should return to Stanley Cup contention.
Otherwise, expect some major changes in the front office and on the coaching staff. There are no more excuses for the Oilers to miss out on the playoffs at this point.