Similar to the Leafs story with not yet having William Nylander signed, the Oilers are going through a similar process with one of their few players who aren’t a constant source of shame for the city.
— OilersNation.com (@OilersNation) September 13, 2018
Hamilton, Ontario’s own Darnell Nurse (Local Boy™) is back in the province after he couldn’t reach a deal with the Oilers. While we may be inclined to feel some sympathy since we know what its like not to have a star player in camp over the matter of a few thousand dollars (please stop to reflect on how silly it is to say “a few thousand dollars”), I’d prefer to forego the sympathy and instead try to find a way of making Darnell Nurse a permanent fixture in Ontario.
BUT WE ALREADY HAVE RIELLY, GARDINER, AND DERMOTT ON THE LEFT SIDE!!!
That’s a fair point. Thank you for bring that up, me. This certainly doesn’t address the need to find someone on the right side. It does however address the need to generally upgrade the blueline, and if The Leafs Nation Facebook page is any indication, there are a lot of fans who feel some size and physicality would be a great addition to the blueline. I don’t disagree with them as long as the player has talent. Nurse has talent. He’ll do nicely.
BUT SERIOUSLY, WHY DO THIS???
Let’s explore some of those reasons.
The first being, Jake Gardiner’s contract is up at the end of this season. It’s very likely that the contract that Darnell Nurse does end up signing will be less than what Jake Gardiner’s contract will be. That leaves the Leafs with the option of trying to flip Gardiner for another asset, or Gardiner can be another JVR style internal rental that will excite and infuriate us equally.
There’s the matter of Nurse being a Dubas boy. That’s right. Darnell Nurse was drafted by Dubas, and played under Sheldon Keefe. They know what he does well, and what they’d want him to work on. He should fit their system. Or they never liked him and this post is completely unnecessary because they’d never look at working with him again. I’m leaning towards the former because Darnell Nurse is very good.
That brings us to the fact that Darnell Nurse is very good.
Please remember that Darnell Nurse did that on a bad Oilers team. He improved a lot in sophomore season, and the fact that he’s wanting to get paid for it shouldn’t be a problem for a team like the Oilers, who are used to their blueline being more of a punchline.
BUT WHAT WILL IT COST THE LEAFS???
Honestly, that’s probably a good starting point. The Oilers could use a right winger who can play in their top nine somewhere, and Connor Brown looks to be the most expendable option the Leafs currently possess. I wouldn’t doubt that Kasperi Kapanen would hold a more significant appeal for Oilers fans, but this isn’t about what they want. This is about trying to steal what they have. If the return for Karlsson can be half an AHL team, then I can say Connor Brown is the centerpiece of the deal.
Reality is that Andrew Nielsen isn’t going to cut it as the next piece, since the Oilers need defensemen who can play now. He does cut it as the third piece though, so I’m leaving him in. Of course the Oilers will want Red Deer, AB super prospect Andrew Nielsen. Nielsen would get a chance to regain his 2016-17 form on the Bakersfield blueline.
Like I said, the Oilers need a defenseman who can play now, and that’s why the 2nd doesn’t make the cut in this deal. Instead the Oilers can have Andreas Borgman. Feel free to substitute any other Leafs bubble defenseman into the mix, but Borgman being a young, cheap option with NHL experience probably makes him the most appealing. They aren’t looking to bring back Marincin, and as much we all love laughing at Peter Chiarelli, he’s not bringing in Nikita Zaitsev.
BUT NOW THERE WILL BE TWO PLAYERS NOT AT CAMP!!!
Yep. That’s unfortunate, but it will get done. Panicking over contracts in training camp when we haven’t even started the 82 game marathon seems like wasting energy (unless you work for the Oilers. Then you should panic and trade Nurse.) Nylander will eventually sign and Nurse will eventually sign. They will both make their team better when they do, and the BS about their attitudes and putting themselves before the team is asinine.
WOULD THE OILERS DO THIS?
Probably not, but it’s still fun to think about. I like Darnell Nurse. I think Mike Babcock would like Darnell Nurse. I’m pretty sure Kyle Dubas liked Darnell Nurse before any of us had any idea who Darnell Nurse is. Why not daydream?
WHAT ABOUT AN OFFER SHEET?
Frankly, this is a very good and handsome idea, and if there was a Pacific division team with cap space and don’t think they’d end up being a lottery team, this is something that would have been worth doing a while ago. As for the Leafs, they are on a bit more of a tight budget, but an offer over $5M a season for Nurse would be enough to create future cap woes for the Oilers, while still being a reasonable amount to give up for Nurse. You could push it $6M and still only give up a 1st and 3rd round pick as compensation for him, but that might be a harder contract for a middle pairing defender to live up to.
I was asked to write this. Sorry.
Also, Darnell Nurse is good, and we should want good players. He’d be a good fit on the Leafs, and there shouldn’t be an issue with getting good value out of a deal with Peter Chiarelli. As for the Oilers fans reading this. Just be happy we acknowledge your crappy team. This is an exciting day for you. Your team got a mention on a Leafs blog. That’s the big time baby. And this time we’re not talking about how Connor McDavid will demand a trade to play here after the Oilers miss the playoffs next spring. It’s wins all around.