Oilers' Nurse optimistic new deal will be reached before training camp

Photo of Oilers' Nurse optimistic new deal will be reached before training camp
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Darnell Nurse believes his uncertain contractual status will soon be a thing of the past.

The Edmonton Oilers defenseman is coming off his entry-level deal and remains a restricted free agent, but is optimistic about signing a new pact as training camp looms.

Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli shares Nurse's optimism, or at least he did in early August. "He is a player we want to get signed and we will sign," he told 630 CHED, according to Paul Gazzola of the team's website. "... There are just different leverage points and it's no accident that there is a long list of restricted free agents (in the NHL). It happens every year and Darnell is in that group."

Nurse had a breakout season in 2017-18, posting career highs of six goals and 20 assists. The 23-year-old finished second on Edmonton in ice time, seeing more than 22 minutes a night, and projects to be relied upon even more heavily this year following the devastating injury to fellow blue-liner Andrej Sekera.

"We keep a consistent dialogue but there's a little bit of a lull," Chiarelli 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."

The Oilers open the season against the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 6.

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