At the very least, the Islanders’ eight-year contract for Pelech looks like a bargain compared to the rest, including the extension the Oilers handed to Nurse.
The Islanders have confirmed it is an eight-year contract for 26-year-old Pelech. They haven’t formalized the cap, but multiple reports indicate Pelech will raise an AAV of $ 5.75 million from 2021-2022 to 2028-2029.
The Oilers have confirmed that Darnell Nurse’s eight-year contract carries a huge Limit of $ 9.25 million reached.
Nurse is also 26, but is set to enter the final year of a deal that carries a cap of $ 5.6 million. So that worsens the risk with Nurse even more than Pelech: Nurse’s extension would run from 2022-23 to 2029-30.
In a comedic twist, Cap Friendly noted that Pelech’s new eight-year contract compares a bit with what the Oilers… won’t pay Nurse any longer.
8 years x $ 5.75M
Most comparable contracts:
1. Josh Morrissey
2. Ce Lindell
3. Infirmière Darnellhttps://t.co/eHZrGr8sWa pic.twitter.com/1EXgCaueEQ
– CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) August 6, 2021
It looks like the Oilers made a massive and highly questionable bet with Darnell Nurse. They aren’t alone, as it was already a wild and possibly misguided eight-year contract offseason for the Defenders. And it’s not like most teams have saved money with such conditions:
Best AAV for the NHL “D” in 2022-2023
11.5 M $ – Erik Karlsson
11 millions de dollars — Drew Doughty
*9,583 M$ — Zach Werenski
* 9,5 millions de dollars — Seth Jones
$ 9,059 – Roman Josi
* $ 9M – Dougie Hamilton
* 9M $ – Cale Makar
8,8 millions de dollars — Alex Pietrangelo
* $ 8.45 million – Miro Heiskanen
* -contract signed in July 2021
– Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) July 30, 2021
Context matters … but islanders do get a good deal while others have rolled the dice to the extreme.
Islanders took advantage of Pelech’s RFA status, further perks for an impressive deal
Above all, it’s important to remember that Adam Pelech was a RFA. Without a doubt, Pelech’s RFA status gave the Islanders an added edge. The Oilers, meanwhile, risked Nurse heading into the unrestricted free agent market in the next offseason.
Still, you can attribute at least part of this difference to the planning. Could the Oilers have been better positioned to limit future risks with Nurse?
You can make a very, very persuasive argument that Islanders don’t just get a cheaper deal; it is possible that Pelech is simply a better defender than Nurse. Consider how the two defensemen rank side-by-side in Evolving Hockey’s three-season RAPM charts:
Again, the RFA (Pelech) and UFA pending (Nurse) aspects make this a flawed comparison.
But zoom out, and you can still consider some fascinating treats.
Among other things to remember, it seems like points / goals and other factors inflate reptuations, while teams don’t pay as much money for a proven defense. Adam Pelech brings a ton of value when you start digging into “fancy stats”.
Adam Pelech, signed 8 x $ 5.75 million by NYI, is one of the league’s top defenders who is more responsible than anyone for the islands’ analytical glow since the 2020 bubble. #He is pic.twitter.com/ghSDuCqqbA
– JFresh (@JFreshHockey) August 6, 2021
Now here is some risk for the Islanders when it comes to investing in Pelech on an eight-year contract. Still, by lowering that cap to $ 5.75 million, it’s a much less scary risk the Oilers are taking with Nurse (and other teams are making with eight-year bets).
Pelech is basically the next Marc-Edouard Vlasic who had three seasons in Pelech’s top eight lineups (I only use one for each player). Vlasic lasted about five years before he fell, so the term is a bit of a problem, but it was probably worth bringing down the AAV. pic.twitter.com/yxnxgJxnWp
– dom at athletics (@domluszczyszyn) August 6, 2021
With a modest 14 points in 2020-21 and an equally modest career high of 21 points, you have to dig deeper to see how valuable Pelech has been to the Islanders. Kudos to the Islanders for taking advantage.
More to come from the islanders?
Personally, I’d also be curious if Pelech’s contract could serve some other purpose for the Islanders. Ryan Pulock, also 26, sees his cap of $ 5 million expire after next season. He had become a UFA from there, which could theoretically open up a salary for him.
Still, given that Pelech is his partner in crime, perhaps that eight-year, $ 5.75 million cap could serve as a vague guideline for Pulock? Maybe it would take less years, but something closer to that $ 5.75 million AAV? If Pulock listened to such an offer, I would be tempted to make it, if I were in Lou’s shoes.
You would think Pulock could lean closer to Nurse than Pelech. In addition to having a similar leverage effect on the future UFA, Pulock has put in place the counting statistics that come close to Nurse. While Pulock was limited in 2020-21 (17 points in 56 games), he scored 32 or more points in every season from 2017-18 to 2019-20. During this period, he scored 10 goals on two occasions, as well as nine goals.
By withdrawing from contracts for Andrew Ladd, Nick Leddy and (admittedly more painfully) Jordan Eberle, Lou Lamoriello already looked more like a GM of the year this offseason than the last. If Lamoriello can follow through on that promising-looking Pelech deal with an affordable Pulock expansion, then maybe start handing out a second best GM of the year trophy for everyone else.
Even if this Pulock situation persists, it’s a big deal. According to Cap Friendly, the Islanders have nearly $ 12 million in overhead space to work on. As Anthony Beauvillier and Ilya Sorokin linger like RFA, maybe there is room for Zach Parise and / or Kyle Palmieri? Could Secret Islanders even have something bigger up their sleeves?
Awesome stuff, overall. Islanders are …
Oil tankers still not learning the right lessons with nurse’s eight-year extension
See Darnell Nurse’s eight-year extension with the Oilers as a parallel to the Blue Jackets’ shocking deal with Zach Werenski. It is not that we are talking about bad defenders. It is just too much money for what they are offering.
Remember: Disliking a player’s contract is not the same as disliking the player.
Do I like Nurse as a player and would like to see him continue to play for the Oilers? Yes.
Do I think signing Nurse for over $ 9 million per person is a good idea? No.
You see, it’s not complicated.
– Ryan Batty (@ryan_batty) August 6, 2021
To many, this sounds like another case of the Oilers (among other teams) ignoring two things:
- Shooting percentages that probably won’t continue.
- How well Connor McDavid was able to exploit someone’s numbers.
From giving too much to Zach Kassian to sell low on Jordan Eberle, the Oilers have seen this movie before. Holding back Tyson Barrie alone was already showing indifference to the obvious red flags.
Really, though, the Oilers might have done better to just let Nurse play the 2021-22 season to get a better measure of his worth. Instead, they extended him after what will be a very difficult season to repeat.
Yes, it’s impressive that Nurse scored 16 goals and scored 36 points in 56 games last season. He’s already shown offensive flair, reaching 10 goals once before 2020-21, and also managing seasons of 33 and 41 points.
Yet some numbers may not be repeated, at least not often. After peaking with a 5.9 shooting percentage, Nurse soared to a 10.4 shooting percentage last season. There are flashing red flags indicating that Nurse rode an unusual wave of luck last season. You also don’t need to dig to find these numbers.
With the nurse signing, I think it’s fair to say the Oilers got an AOP again. pic.twitter.com/CCzgq6Z6tt
– Kent Wilson (@Kent_Wilson) August 6, 2021
Even if he calms down, the nurse may offend him. The worry is just that without these bounces his defensive problems might become more difficult to digest. At least at a price that drops to $ 9.25 million from 2021-2022.
As with Seth Jones, the Oilers have a shot at getting good value with Nurse’s eight-year extension. Yet, as with Jones, the price to pay makes it a very dangerous bet. When you pay that much, is an extension even “proactive” or are you just rushing a mistake?
Can teams learn from the Islanders?
Again, Nurse and Pelech weren’t exactly in the same situation. Their signature for eight years (one a contract, the other an extension) on the same day, however, opens the door to certain take-out meals.
- It looks like teams aren’t getting much more sophisticated, especially in evaluating defenders. There is still a lot to imagine what a defender is could be, while ignoring the underlying issues. This is especially true when it comes to a large prototypical type like Nurse.
- On the other hand, pure defense is more difficult to measure. It is also apparently less marketable.
Whichever way you explain the differences, the Islanders have enjoyed a good to a really good deal, especially with defender prices soaring. If this cuts the costs of a potential Pulock expansion, even better.
On the flip side, Nurse’s extension only makes it harder to imagine the Oilers stocking the type of quality around Connor McDavid who could be a lasting competitor. It was already an offseason of questionable moves from Ken Holland, especially when considered long term. This nurse expansion could haunt the Oilers for years to come – perhaps as soon as it goes into effect during the 2022-2023 season.
Assuming the cap remains stable at $ 81.5 million next season, we show the #Oilers with only $ 7,889,538 of projected ceiling space based on a current roster of 15 players (8F – 6D – 1G).
Only Tampa Bay is higher at $ 80,708,333 with a listing of 16.https: //t.co/l4YrhaFXaK pic.twitter.com/HRv7aBnmQW
– CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) August 6, 2021
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk sur NBC Sports. Drop him a line at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.