On the afternoon of their pre-season opener against the Calgary Flames, the Oilers solidified a key contributor on the back end by signing Darnell Nurse to a two-year contract.
The 23-year-old defenceman concluded his entry-level contract last season, making him a restricted free agent, but he'll now patrol the blueline through 2019-20 thanks to Monday's new deal.
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"We all love to play the game and that's the main reason why we do it," Nurse told Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now. "But there's a business side to it too and it just takes some time to hash things out. I'm glad it's done."
Nurse, who played all 82 games for the Oilers last season and contributed six goals and 20 assists, had been participating in informal skates with many of his teammates prior to the first official day of training camp last Thursday.
Without a contract in place, he was unable to report for camp and opted to return home to southern Ontario until the deal was done. Nurse said he'll be on an Edmonton-bound plane on Monday night and make his camp debut on Tuesday.
"I was losing my mind sitting at home and not being able to be on the ice," he said. "I'm happy it was only a few days and I can get on the ice again tomorrow."
Back on the ice and back to the team's collective focus of redemption after a disappointing 2017-18 campaign.
"We all want to have a big step this year and we know what we're capable of as a team, so it'll be exciting for me to be back on the ice," Nurse said. "I know we're capable of a lot better than what we had last year."