Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse is off to a strong start to his season. He’s on pace to approach 40 points for the second straight season while sitting second on the team in ice time per game at a little under 23 minutes per night. Suffice it to say, he’s certainly positioning himself well to land a long-term deal at a considerable raise from his current $3.2MM AAV this summer when he’ll be a restricted free agent with salary arbitration eligibility.
With that in mind, Postmedia’s David Staples argues that Edmonton GM Ken Holland should be looking to get a deal done now over waiting until the offseason where the price tag could potentially jump higher. There is a sizable list of potential comparable players and they all point to an AAV around the $6MM mark, depending on the term of the deal. The Oilers already have over $57.5MM committed to just 10 players for next season already but given how important Nurse is to their back end, Holland should have no qualms about adding another big ticket contract to their books.
Elsewhere out West:
- Blackhawks blueliner Duncan Keith will miss Saturday’s game against Colorado due to a groin injury, head coach Jeremy Colliton told reporters, including Charlie Roumeliotis of NBC Sports Chicago. He has been skipping practices lately for maintenance purposes but it appears the team will give him at least one game off to see if that helps. To replace him on the roster, the team announced (via Twitter) the recall of blueliner Ian McCoshen from AHL Rockford while winger Matthew Highmore has been sent back to the IceHogs.
- Jets defenseman Dmitry Kulikov sustained an upper-body injury early in today’s game against Anaheim, the team announced (Twitter link). There is no timetable yet for how long he might miss. In the short term, expect Carl Dahlstrom, a waiver claim from Chicago before the season started, to draw back into the lineup.