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Lowetide
October 07 2013 05:01PM

We're just getting started for the 2013-14 season, but there are already some very good signs for 1st round selection Darnell Nurse. He's 'as advertised' as a defenseman, but this year Nurse looked to be a much bigger part of the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds powerplay. 5 games into his season, the results are already obvious.

OFFENSE

Last season, Nurse played on a very deep hockey club with two established PP defenders (Ryan Sproul 20-46-66 and Colin Miller 20-35-55), but this year he's moved up the batting order and is getting a regular turn 5x4. Although it's extremely early, we can see him getting used differently this season:

2013-14 DARNELL NURSE OFFENSE

  • EV 5, 0-1-1 .200
  • PP 5, 1-2-3 .600
  • PK 5, 0-1-1 .200

2012-13 DARNELL NURSE OFFENSE

  • EV 68, 10-17-27 .397
  • PP 68, 2-10-12 .176
  • PK 68, 0-2-2 .029

The point isn't to project this over an entire season and get a point total, but rather to confirm what we assumed: Darnell Nurse is getting powerplay time and that will mean a spike in boxcar numbers.

THE NURSE RESUME

Oiler fans got a nice look at Darnell Nurse during the Pentiction rookie series and then regular camp and pre-season. Nurse played so well during pre-season it was tough to send him down although the Oilers made the right call. Jason Gregor wrote about Nurse and his impressive play as an Oiler this fall:

  • Gregor:  Last Wednesday in Vancouver, Nurse played a dominating 24 minutes vs. the Canucks. He gave management, coaches, teammates and the fans a glimpse of his future potential, and he should go back to Sault Ste. Marie feeling very good about his game. While Nurse dominated in Vancouver that night, in his other preseason games he was solid. At times he looked his age, and you could see that he'll need to add some weight to his 6'4" frame, but every game he played he did something that caught your attention.

Nurse is captain of the Greyhounds this season, taking on more responsibility and gaining valuable experience in all three disciplines (EV, PP and PK).

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

There's still a lot of talk in Oilers Nation about the club passing on Russian winger Valeri Nichushkin, and the player taken just after Nuse (Rasmus Ristolainen) is also in the NHL. Nurse impressed in training camp with his range of skills and overall ability, and this season we're seeing early signs that he's having a greater impact in the OHL and getting those special teams minutes.

Darnell Nurse is showing great improvement over last season and could be a contender for a roster spot on the Oilers a year from now. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#51 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
October 08 2013, 11:16AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Being one of the top 6 defenders at training camp, one would believe he deserved a 9 game look see. The Oilers are always in need of a big hit, a scrap or even perhaps a goal. All possibilities with his skillset (the devine spark could come in many different ways) tonight it happened to be a ppg.

Not at all concerned when his elc kicks in. There's always room for a kid who can contribute. Felt he deserved a shot with NHL caliber players surrounding him, as well as opposing him. Let him have that one NHL paystub to wet his appetite.

How much worse do you believe it would've gotten (if he stayed) after this past week?

Respectfully......I think most fans and observers were more concerned about the potential for injury with a not fully physically developed young man playing against the Raffi Torres's of the world...kind of a risk reward analysis.

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#52 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
October 08 2013, 11:22AM
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oilbaron wrote:

God Brodeur is terrible, gives up 4 goals in the 3rd and can't stop anything in the shootout. What a hack!

Maybe Dubbie haters could cut the guy a little slack, obviously its a tough league and clearly even the best have bad nights/periods

I see what you did there.....well played!!........slow clap!

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#53 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
October 08 2013, 11:27AM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

Man it is hard to believe that was 30 years ago,I think they left Ron Lowe in for all 13 goals and Gretzky had 7 or 8 points.The Devils organization turned it around shortly after.

And MAN!...did they EVER turn it around!.....maybe that's what's happening here...with the Oilers...now.........food for thought....

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#54 The Oilers Shot Clock
October 08 2013, 11:29AM
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Mark wrote:

They did the right thing sending Nurse back down. Detroit has the best model for developing young talent. There is no coincidence that all their players that Detroit pick later in the rounds end up being solid NHL players.

Not true. Detroit strikes out as much as anybody else. They actually haven't hit a homerun since Franzen, and he's the only one in that draft class to even play an NHL game. 2007 and 2008 were horrible draft years as well. Absolute duds. I think their reputation precedes them a bit at the draft. The Zberg and Datsyuk picks are near 15 years old now.

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#55 dawgtoy
October 08 2013, 11:45AM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Respectfully......I think most fans and observers were more concerned about the potential for injury with a not fully physically developed young man playing against the Raffi Torres's of the world...kind of a risk reward analysis.

Completely agree!

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#56 oilbaron
October 08 2013, 12:46PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

I see what you did there.....well played!!........slow clap!

lol, thank you! Check out Jonathon Quick last night! Guess its time for the kings to find a new goalie

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#57 Danger Pay
October 08 2013, 02:32PM
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I personally still cannot believe they took Nurse in the draft. I did a little research prior to the draft and I desperately wanted the Oilers to take him, mostly B/C our D needed improvement and Nurse is a beast. Sending him down was the correct call. You can argue that they should have done the same with Hall, EBS, Nuge and Yaks, I think a year in the minors for each of them would have been tremendous down the line but it is what it is. Now we can start drafting and DEVELOPING our future stars and every year add another crucial piece to the organization. It took a while but the Oilers are finally on the right track!

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#58 Bucknuck
October 08 2013, 06:28PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Considering two out of three of those players required surgery before year two, one might think that they learned something.

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#59 The Oilers Shot Clock
October 08 2013, 06:59PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Selective hindsight when every first overall pick plays in the NHL the year they were drafted. The last who didnt was Johnson was it not? This isn't an idea exclusive to the Oilers but you word it like it is.

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#60 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
October 08 2013, 08:35PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Isn't it odd they didn't apply that same train of thought to the 3 first overall selections? Hopkins and Hall, both with major shoulder injuries to date. How come these guys were treated different, were they less important than 7th overall Darnell Nurse?

I know you wouldn't steer me down the wrong path ORG, but did the truth change somewhere along this road? Lowes Wing and a Prayer Management Group (WPMG) has its pitfalls I think.

#justmorebaitforharryorg

You could say its a little odd. Personally, I think they were a bit desperate. But that's just my opinion and it's all hind sight now. As I recall they're stated rationale/ litmus test was calculating whether or not each of the kids could/ would benefit from another year in junior in terms of the development of their skills. Or, alternatively, if they were so far superior to their piers in junior that the only place that afforded them the opportunity for growth.was professional hockey. Like I said, I think they were acting, at least in part, out of desperation.

I also think they thought that the league was cracking down on cheap shots, hitting from behind, high sticking, fighting etc....too the point that they were paving the way for drafted players to enter the league at a younger age.

As for Nurse, either they learned their lesson like Bucknuck suggests, or they are just a little less desperate, or they believe the conventional wisdom that defence men take longer to mature.

Wherever the truth may lie, it is not unreasonable to question their judgement. In fact it is useful and even necessary..so good on ya for that.

At the very least I think you and I will both be happy if Nurse is on the roster next year. As for this year we'll have to agree to disagree...as they say.

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#61 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
October 08 2013, 08:41PM
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The Oilers Shot Clock wrote:

Selective hindsight when every first overall pick plays in the NHL the year they were drafted. The last who didnt was Johnson was it not? This isn't an idea exclusive to the Oilers but you word it like it is.

You make a valid point and it gives weight to your argument. But I think it's still rational/ reasonable to question, even if everyone is doing it (i.e. Playing their first overall picks on the big club in year one), in hind sight would you have given Hall, or Ebbs, or Nuge, or Yak or Gagner, one more year in junior? Any of them?

I also wonder how much influence agents exert on these decisions?

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#62 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
October 08 2013, 09:03PM
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druds wrote:

I take umbrance at the suggestion that most people wanted to take Nichushkin...why would a team overstacked with quality top 6 forwards take another one when the glaring holes in this team are in the backend?

I think most people thought it was a no-brainer to take the defenceman.

Darnnell (barring injury) should be playing here next year.

I'm not sure it was a no brainer to take a defensemen. I think the decision was made easier by the TYPE of defensemen Nurse is. I don't think they'd have taken Roustalainen etc in front of Nichushkin

But if your point is specifically Nurse...then yes I agree.

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#63 StHenriOilBomb
October 08 2013, 11:58PM
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Hey Quick, Nurse's development seems to be a hot issue for you.

I'm curious about a few things. Forgive me if you've answered these somewhere.

1)If you're running the team, who do you demote to make way for Nurse during his 9 or more games?

2)Do you believe that it is in the team and player's best interest over the LONG TERM to have Nurse developing in Edmonton this year? WHY?

3)What do you believe should have happened with the three first overall picks? Should they have entered the league in their draft years?

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#64 oilerjed
October 09 2013, 11:24AM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

You could say its a little odd. Personally, I think they were a bit desperate. But that's just my opinion and it's all hind sight now. As I recall they're stated rationale/ litmus test was calculating whether or not each of the kids could/ would benefit from another year in junior in terms of the development of their skills. Or, alternatively, if they were so far superior to their piers in junior that the only place that afforded them the opportunity for growth.was professional hockey. Like I said, I think they were acting, at least in part, out of desperation.

I also think they thought that the league was cracking down on cheap shots, hitting from behind, high sticking, fighting etc....too the point that they were paving the way for drafted players to enter the league at a younger age.

As for Nurse, either they learned their lesson like Bucknuck suggests, or they are just a little less desperate, or they believe the conventional wisdom that defence men take longer to mature.

Wherever the truth may lie, it is not unreasonable to question their judgement. In fact it is useful and even necessary..so good on ya for that.

At the very least I think you and I will both be happy if Nurse is on the roster next year. As for this year we'll have to agree to disagree...as they say.

Late to reply but the obvious answer seems to be Tambellini VS MacT doesnt it. One uses common sense one didnt. Can you guess which one fits where.

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#65 Quicksilver ballet
October 09 2013, 02:23PM
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StHenriOilBomb wrote:

Hey Quick, Nurse's development seems to be a hot issue for you.

I'm curious about a few things. Forgive me if you've answered these somewhere.

1)If you're running the team, who do you demote to make way for Nurse during his 9 or more games?

2)Do you believe that it is in the team and player's best interest over the LONG TERM to have Nurse developing in Edmonton this year? WHY?

3)What do you believe should have happened with the three first overall picks? Should they have entered the league in their draft years?

1) I let the play of the team alone make that decision. If they were 6-3,7-2 and Darnell is contributing during those 9 games, then he stays. If it's all dogs breakfast (actual, like it is now) then he goes down after that 9. Grabeshkov starts in OKC rather than hiding here on the IR.

2) Yes, the Oilers are flat out desperate for anyone who can play. Without the burden of any offensive expectations he'd be fine. He'd certainly benefit living in a mans environment NHL. I don't see any benefit having him go back and shoot fish in a barrel with a bunch of kids. The kid has a wealth of experience behind him (Nurse sr and his uncle McNabb) to help deal with being a professional at an earlier age.

3) Similar to your second question, yes. The Oilers had a team (2010-2012)that would've struggled in the AHL. They had vacancies at every position. Based on Darnells T/C, he deserved a 9 game trial.

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