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Darnell Nurse Norris Trophy Snub Helps Oilers Future Negotiations

While disappointing that Darnell Nurse was not made a finalist for the Norris Trophy in 2021, there’s a silver lining that helps the Oilers.

The list of Norris Trophy Finalists was revealed on Wednesday and Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse is not on it. Instead, Cale Makar, Adam Fox and Victor Hedman get the well-deserving nods and Nurse will have to try and repeat his performance (even up it) from this past season if he wants to be in consideration for the award next season. While many insiders believed that Nurse should have been among the finalists — Kevin Weekes believed Nurse should win it –, it’s not all bad news, especially if you’re Oilers general manager Ken Holland.

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There’s no taking away what Nurse accomplished this season. Eating heavy minutes for the Oilers and playing the top pair on the left side for the team, he was among the organization’s best players. That’s saying a lot when you have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on your team. Nurse is about the play the final year of his current $5.6 million two-year bridge contract and he certainly outplayed the amount he was paid.

Nurse will be eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of the 2021-22 season and he’s going to get paid. Some have his next deal pegged around $8M x 8 years and the Oilers really don’t want it to go above that, even if they are essentially willing to pay whatever it takes to keep him in the fold.

Eligible to start talking a deal this summer, the Oilers will need to decide if they negotiate with Nurse in July of this year and get that deal done, or if they wait until midway through this coming season to see if he has anywhere near the same kind of season that he did in 2020-21. Waiting gives the Oilers a chance to ensure Nurse is going to consistently be the player everyone saw this season. Not waiting gives the team a chance to lock him in before his production goes up even more and his price shoots through the roof.

No Norris Helps the Oilers

Not being nominated for The Norris Trophy doesn’t lessen what Nurse did. Still, having that on his resume helps his agent when it comes time to ask for an amount he feels he’s worth. How much that changes the dollar figure might be marginal, but it still matters.

Darnell Nurse Edmonton Oilers
Darnell Nurse of Edmonton Oilers not a Norris Trophy Finalist

It’s one thing for Nurse’s agent to come to the table and say, ‘You’ve got a Norris Trophy-caliber defenseman looking to stay with you guys long term. That’s worth something.’ It’s another for the agent to only have access to Nurse’s stat line and his loyalty and love for the Oilers as leverage. Those things are good, but Norris Trophy defensemen get paid, there’s no doubts about that.

Once that long-term deal is finalized and the ink is dry, Nurse can get nominated, and maybe even win a Norris as often as he wants. That’s all good for Holland and the Oilers who don’t have to try and get the best bargain for the player they can after he’s solidified himself as one of the best defensemen in the NHL and has the nominations or awards to prove it.

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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Edmonton Oilers Sign Forward Devin Shore to 2-Yr Contract Extension

  2. Pingback: Norris Trophy Finalists: Did NHL Get It Right with Fox, Makar, Hedman?

  3. Pingback: Norris Trophy Finalists: Did NHL Get It Right with Fox, Makar, Hedman? » 观看直播

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