Darnell Nurse landed the big one on Friday, signing an eight-year contract worth $74 million ($9.25 million cap hit), to start in 2022-23. Nurse is now 26, so this contract will expire when he is 35. Like many long-term deals, it may not look pretty at the end. But Nurse is a critical part of the Oilers defense, leading all of their blueliners with 25:38 of icetime in 2020-21. Only Drew Doughty, Thomas Chabot, and Brent Burns averaged more icetime overall than Nurse.
I'm not sure how much this factored into his new contract, but Nurse's goal total certainly helped his fantasy stock in 2020-21. Only Jakob Chychrun scored more goals than Nurse's 16, a career high for the career Oiler. Nurse finished fourth in shots among defensemen, which factored into that total. Shooting percentage also helped boost that total, as Jonas Brodin, Aaron Ekblad, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Alec Martinez were the only defensemen with a shooting percentage higher than Nurse's 10.4% (minimum 35 games). Don't bet on an improvement in this category, at least not on a goals-per-game basis.
Even if the goal total declines, Nurse is still a must-own in multicategory league. I mentioned the shots on goal earlier. He finished with a plus-27, second on the team and a number that you can also debate. Nurse is especially valuable in leagues that count hits, as no defenseman who had a higher hits total than Nurse (117) scored more points. As well, his 100 blocked shots was within the top 20. As long as he's receiving the icetime, Nurse should continue to pile up the counting stats.
Nurse wasn't the only defenseman to sign an eight-year contract on Friday. As you might expect from Lou Lamoriello, the Islanders have been secretive about their offseason plans, but they did announce that Adam Pelech has agreed to an eight-year extension worth $5.75 million per season. Pelech isn't really an option in fantasy leagues, either by sc