The Edmonton Oilers signed key restricted free agent defenseman yesterday afternoon to a two year, $5.6 million per year contract. The 25-year-old top pairing defenseman put up career highs last season of 10-31-41, and currently has 4-20-24 in 55 games this season. These kinds of numbers and stats should look familiar.
Tony DeAngelo, he of 24 years old, is enjoying a career year himself. Currently sitting pretty at 13-29-42 in 54 games, DeAngelo also has an expiring contract this season. He’s also the top stat producing defenseman on the Rangers. The DeAngelo camp is certainly taking note of this contract.
There are many similarities between Nurse and DeAngelo. The points, the age, the contract status. There is one key difference though, and that is the second contract. Nurse was on the second year of a $3.2 million per year contract. DeAngelo’s current contract is a one-year, $925,000 deal, less than a third of what Nurse was making. Believe it or not, that will play a role.
On a side by side comparison, Nurse and DeAngelo are nearly identical, although DeAngelo is having a better defensive season. This encompasses all the major advanced stats that we would list for comparison, so to say DeAngelo is having a better season this year isn’t a stretch.
What DeAngelo doesn’t have going for him, as mentioned above, is the contract history. The $5.6 million extension for Nurse is a $2.4 million increase on his current salary. If DeAngelo were to get the same, it would be a $4.7 million increase. While that may not seem like it matters, especially since DeAngelo is having a better season, it does for arbitration.
DeAngelo’s camp is going to look at this contract as the barometer for their client, and DeAngelo himself is probably seeing dollar signs. He’s on pace for 60 points, something Nurse never hit. He may not have liked being forced to take his qualifying offer, but it is going to pay off for him. And the risk the Rangers took is coming back to bite them.