Darnell Nurse, Oilers Agree to 8-Year, $74 Million Contract Extension

Blake SchusterContributor IAugust 6, 2021

WINNIPEG, MB - MAY 24: Darnell Nurse #25 of the Edmonton Oilers keeps an eye on the play during action in the second overtime period against the Winnipeg Jets in Game Four of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell MTS Place on May 24, 2021 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

The Edmonton Oilers announced that they agreed to an eight-year, $74 million extension with defenseman Darnell Nurse on Friday. 

Nurse was slated to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2021-22 NHL season and was earning an average annual value of $5.6 million. He'll see a significant raise for the 2022-23 campaign when his AAV jumps to $9.3 million. 

The 26-year-old has certainly proved he's deserving of the deal. Nurse has tallied at least 33 points in each of his last three seasons and hasn't notched fewer than 26 since 2016-17. The cornerstone defenseman had a career-high 16 goals over 56 games in 2020-21. 

If Nurse's extension kicked in today, he would be the fifth-highest paid defenseman in the NHL. Only Erik Karlsson, Drew Doughty, Zach Werenski and Seth Jones are currently earning a higher AAV. 

He'd also become the third Oiler to earn more than $8 million per year alongside Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. 

According to Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, the NHL's salary cap is expected to rise by $1 million for the 2022-23 campaign, but giving so much Nurse could come back to haunt the team despite the fact that Nurse recorded the most even-strength goals (15) among blueliners.

Despite rostering arguably the best tandem in the league in McDavid and Draisaitl, the Oilers have failed to find postseason success. The team was swept by the Winnipeg Jets in the first round in 2020-21 and has only advanced to the second round once since losing the Stanley Cup in 2006.