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Oilers Reconsider Darnell Nurse's Role Amid Trade Speculations


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Sam Jones
June 15, 2024  (9:19)
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Oilers Reconsider Darnell Nurse's Role Amid Trade Speculations
Photo credit: JAYNE KAMIN-ONCEA-USA TODAY SPORTS

As the Edmonton Oilers strategize for an ambitious run at the Stanley Cup, the spotlight turns to Darnell Nurse's substantial $9.25M salary cap hit.

Insider Frank Seravalli suggests that while the Oilers are open to trading Nurse, his appeal on the trade market has dwindled, now ranking him 24th on the trade likelihood list. This shift comes as no teams have expressed significant interest, coupled with a perceived decline in Nurse's performance.
"He's already not on the first unit power play or penalty kill, he's stuck on the second pair, and that doesn't leave him much opportunity to play up to his $9.25 million cap hit. Other teams are already leery of his contract structure with regards to the $24 million in backloaded signing bonus that makes it almost impossible to buy out.» - Frank Seravalli

The defensive dynamics within the Oilers have notably shifted with the emergence of Bouchard and Ekholm, who have quickly become one of the league's top duos. This new pairing leaves the Oilers questioning the necessity of Nurse's hefty contract for a second-pair defenseman. Given Nurse's underwhelming performance relative to his contract, and the unlikelihood of offloading his six remaining contract years without significant concessions, the Oilers face a tough decision.
Further complicating the Oilers' salary cap situation are decisions regarding other players like Jack Campbell, who is anticipated to be bought out post-draft. This move could free up some much-needed cap space for free agency, unless delayed to later in the offseason. Cody Ceci's future also hangs in balance as a potential cap casualty this summer.
With critical decisions looming, the outcome of the Oilers' next game could prompt immediate discussions about their offseason strategy. A loss could end their season prematurely, disappointing fans with the prospect of an opponent's victory celebration in Edmonton.
However, with strategic adjustments and wise fiscal maneuvers in the offseason, the Oilers can hope to return stronger in the pursuit of the coveted Stanley Cup.
Source: Frank Seravalli
25 Names on the NHL trade market
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Oilers Reconsider Darnell Nurse's Role Amid Trade Speculations

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