Dreger: Bit of a game of chicken between Oilers, Nurse's camp

The Oilers are opening training camp without Darnell Nurse, so how far off might a deal be for the restricted free agent defenseman?

Darren Dreger had a Thursday morning radio hit on Edmonton’s TSN 1260, and shared his latest sentiment on how long this situation might last.

“It’s a good question,” began Dreger. “I want to say shouldn’t expect it to last too much longer, given the fact that Nurse is in Edmonton. It seemed to be heading in that direction. I can tell you this: The Oilers organization was hopeful - hopeful - last week and the start of this week that they would be able to get his contract looked after.

“We’ve talked about the parameters, right, that two-year bridge coming in at around $3 million flat or just over $3 million. Well, clearly $3 million flat isn’t enough to get that player back into camp here, to start the season the way he has started every other NHL season.So there’s got to be enough that isn’t on the table yet for Darnell Nurse and his representation to take this tactic.

“It’s not unusual. This is far from unusual. I don’t think Oilers fans should be in a big panic. But I can assure you of one thing: Darnell Nurse is antsy because no player wants to miss camp for contractual reasons. Camp is a grind, but every player wants this stuff put to bed because it’s stressful.

“So here’s hoping that it doesn’t last a whole bunch longer.”

The point was made to Dreger that while Nurse may be antsy, general manager Peter Chiarelli needs things to go well to start this season and the Oilers may not be in a great negotiating spot here.

“No, probably not,” conceded Dreger. “But again, it’s the opening of training camp. It’s not the end of camp, it’s not the middle of the preseason, and it’s not the beginning of the regular season. So there is some time that’s still available.

“Now clearly here, one of these sides or both sides are going to have to give. Are we talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars? Well, maybe. I don’t think so, but maybe. But the reality is somebody, or both sides, are going to have to give in and it’s a bit of a game of chicken at this point.

“I suspect that the Oilers are going to soften a little bit, and Darnell is going to soften a little bit. When you get to that middle point, then he’s back in camp or back with the team and doesn’t miss any time.”

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