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BLOG: Chiarelli confident in Nurse contract talks

"He's a player we want to get signed and we will sign," said Oilers President of Hockey Operations and GM Peter Chiarelli of defenceman Darnell Nurse

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Don't fret.

Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli is confident Darnell Nurse will put pen to paper on a new contract soon.

"He (Nurse) is a player we want to get signed and we will sign," Chiarelli told 630 CHED's Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer on Tuesday.

Nurse, 23, is a restricted free agent who saw major growth in the 2017-18 campaign. The Hamilton, ON, product established career-highs in goals, assists, points and plus-minus to lead all Oilers blueliners in a number of categories.

The defender topped his defensive peers in assists with 20, points with 26 and plus-minus with a plus-15 rating. Nurse tied Matt Benning in goals with six and was behind only Oscar Klefbom in average time on ice, logging 22:15 per outing. 

Chiarelli said contract talks regarding restricted free agents typically take longer to finalize.

"There are just different leverage points and it's no accident that there is a long list of restricted free agents (in the NHL)," he said. "It happens every year and Darnell is in that group."

Last summer, Leon Draisaitl was in a similar situation to Nurse. The centre didn't ink a new deal with the club until Aug. 16, 2017. 

Chiarelli also said there's usually a gap in contract discussions during the month of July.

"We keep a consistent dialogue but there's a little bit of a lull," he added. "Generally, they're important players if you look at the list and the teams keep working away at it. It's not really in the limelight and you don't hear about it because it's a bit of a slower process."

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