Oilers Have To Buy Out Nurse By 2025

With Darnell Nurse's poor play in the playoffs and him being one of the highest paid defensemen in the league, there are many reasons for the Edmonton Oilers to explore a buyout either this offseason or next. But, that is the only window that makes sense for the Oilers to execute a buyout.

Nurse has a cap hit of $9.25 million AAV for six more years. Even though he is one of the highest paid defensemen in the league and the highest on the Oilers by a large margin, he isn't even a top-2 defenseman on the team. Mattias Ekholm and Evan Bouchard have firmly taken over the 1-2 spot on the team and Nurse is a second pairing d-man on Edmonton at best right now.

The 29-year-old has two assists in 15 games and is a -12 in the postseason this year. The underlying numbers are also horrible. If a buyout happens this year, the Oilers have a ton of cap space freed up for the following two seasons. Then for four after that, it will be a little tough with $8.7 million+ on the books. Following that, the Oilers would only have $1.5 million on the books each of the final six years. That is one option that would give the Oilers the best window to win in the next two years.

If the Oilers decide to buy Nurse out in 2025 instead and give it one more year, it really doesn't make much of a difference in savings over the 10+ years the buyout hit would be on the books. The Oilers would save a total of $5 million and not save anything in 2024-25 when it may be their best chance to win the Stanley Cup with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

The reason a buyout has to happen before the 2025-26 season is because Draisaitl and Bouchard's new deals are going to start then and McDavid's the year after. Draisaitl and Bouchard are going to need combined raises equal to or even more than what Nurse is making on his contract every year. Yes, the cap is going to significantly go up each season, but the Oilers still have to fill the rest of their lineup. Having Nurse's money go towards two of the most productive players on the Oilers is a must and it has to be done sooner rather than later.

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