Oilers GM Ken Holland locked up one of his Top 4 defenseman today when he extended 2013 1st round pick, Darnell Nurse, to an $11.2 million extension ($5.6 million AAV). Nurse was set to become an RFA on July 1st until this bridge deal was reached. Nurse currently has 24 points in 55 games this season on the Oilers’ second defense pair with rookie Ethan Bear (dailyfaceoff.com for line combination credit).
Darnell Nurse doesn’t score well in the AB metric, as he has a career AB score of -3.60 over a 4-year time span. His worst season was his first real season as a full-time NHL player with a -6.49 score, and his best season was the season Oilers playoff run with a -0.51 score. He has never registered a positive AB score in his career and leads the Oilers in penalties taken this season with 17 as opposed to 6 drawn. Nurse is coming off of a -3.86 AB season last year, which was the 5th highest score for a defenseman to play 20 or more games for the Oilers last season. This season, Nurse is Top 5 on the team in giveaways with 40 as opposed to 22 takeaways. However, he is a respectable -2 in 55 games +/- wise despite being 2nd on the team in TOI/60 with 22:26 per night. In his defense, current Oilers head coach Dave Tippett is Nurse’s 3rd coach in his 5-year career, as he played for Todd McLellan from 2015-16 to 2018-19, and Ken Hitchcock in the 2018-19 season. We are currently developing a coaching metric that determines the positive and negative effects a coach has on his players, and whether or not said coach works better with certain position players as opposed to others. We understand changing systems or losing certain coaches could affect player’s on-ice performance and we are trying to develop the best way to incorporate that into our web of databases. More will come on this very soon.
With the deadline quickly approaching, Nurse’s name has appeared in recent Oilers trade rumors in Ken Holland’s pursuit to acquire forward help. This contract extension just makes him more valuable trade-wise due to the fact he is now under team control for at least two more seasons. We wouldn’t be so sure Nurse is a lock to remain an Oiler as a result of this extension, however, we do think a trade is less likely than it was before this extension was signed. It will be an interesting next few weeks in Edmonton as a result of the incoming deadline, and we are sure Ken Holland will make plenty of moves that will help the Oilers with their playoff push. Maybe we will finally get an answer to the lingering Jesse Puljujarvi question, as the Oilers still own his rights. We are looking forward to lots of news coming out of Edmonton in the coming weeks. More to come.