Edmonton Oilers draft Darnell Nurse seventh overall

Jonathan Willis
June 30 2013 01:46PM

The Edmonton Oilers have chosen to hold on to their seventh overall draft pick, and have selected Darnell Nurse.

Here's Red Line Report on Nurse:

Has huge upside. Big and strong with great upper body strength despite still being a beanpole. Wait until he adds a few pounds to that hulking 6'5" frame. He's just miserable to play against now: throws opponents around with authority and plays a mean, nasty game. Throws big hits both along the boards and in open ice. Has a very long stride and reach with good lateral movement. Plays a positionally steady game in own end. Strong penalty killer who uses his body/stick to eliminate shooting and passing lanes. Cleans men out in front of net. Clears rebounds and ties up his check preventing second chances. Can be a dominant force and top pairing shutdown defender. Offensive game emerged in 2nd half. Started moving up into the rush decisively, showing good timing and instincts. Makes a good first pass and skates with his head up, looking to make plays. Also shows recovery speed.

Red Line had him eighth overall on their list, but projects him as a top-pairing defenceman at the NHL level.

Jason Gregor had a great interview with Nurse earlier this month.

Also of interest: Darnell Nurse faced among the toughest competition of any defenceman in major junior in this year's draft.

Analysis

This is something of a surprise, as the expectation was that Edmonton would select Valeri Nichushkin, the 6'4" winger who was projected by some as a top-five pick. Instead, they choose a player who is a good fit for long-term need - a big, strong shutdown defenceman with puck-moving ability. While Nurse is a strong fit for need, it would be a major shock if he played in Edmonton this season; like most defencemen picked at this stage of the draft additional seasoning in junior is almost certainly the prudent course of action. 

This is a big add for the Oilers organization. It's just going to take a few years to pay off.

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#151 Thomas
July 01 2013, 11:57AM
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I love nurse ! However the development curve for defencemen is too prolonged, by the time he is an impact defenceman he will be a UFA. See Zach Bogosian.

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#152 Quicksilver ballet
July 01 2013, 12:28PM
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Thomas wrote:

I love nurse ! However the development curve for defencemen is too prolonged, by the time he is an impact defenceman he will be a UFA. See Zach Bogosian.

He could be like that Brodin kid in Minnesota (only 9 games in the AHL), you never know. Everyone is different, some kids are just better than others. See what he's like when playing with much better teammates in September.

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#153 mrBacon
July 01 2013, 03:32PM
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Is that seriously the best highlight pack you could find? One decent goal and some fights?

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#154 StHenriOilBomb
July 02 2013, 12:08AM
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Thinker wrote:

Okay, The McIlrath comparison was probably harsh, bit this is a dumb pick. We drafted for current need by taking a player 3-4 years away. There is zero chance that edmonton lets its defence be so inept for another three years(at least I jope to god they do). Schultz is a number two, potentially number one once his defence rounds out. Petry is your number three. Smid is a second pairing d as well, but is probably better suited as a shutdown d.Therefore your need is a first pairing defender. Nurse's cielling is second pairing according to most scouts. So that puts nurse on the third pairing when he gets her, assuming there is still a spot after klefbom, marincin, gernat, simpson, musil, ect get a shot. If we needed a defensive PROSPECT, we needed a first pairing puck mover. Enter Ristolainen. The Finn is mobile, puts up points, and would fit nicely into a first pairing role.

Secondly, Edmonton needs a big skill forwardor skilled two way center, an equally valuable asset, preferably one who could step in tomorrow. If you fear nichushkin's attitude problems, you ought to trade down and select Horvat, or similar and pick up another asset.

Most importantly first round dmen are almost a crapshoot. To gamble on a player with such a low ceilling is stupid. Its like betting on the 50-1 horse vs the 80-1 horse. If your going to make a bad bet, you moght as well swing for the fences. Nurse is second pairing at best, so in all liklihood he is a third pairing by the time you take out the exaggerations of the draft. Plus he is a project, and is set to debut after edmonton is inside the playoff window. In three years, the oilers need players who can deliver value high in the batting order to alleviate cap pressure. Replacing a third pairing defence with Nurse will save you $0. Having ristolainem play as a 2-4 dman could save you a significant amount.

Where do you play Nurse? My guess is bottom pairing. Also remember we a big game hunting for top four. Schultz Klefbom Petry Marincin Smid Musil Schultz

Drafting in the 7th spot to fill needs for the next 2 years is foolish, and will likely lead to choosing players based on their readiness instead of their overall potential.

If you believe Ristolainem has more potential, then I can;t argue with you. I don't know enough about these guys.

If you're arguing for Risto's style being more needed/effective/valuable, I don't agree. Nurse's complete game leaves little room for gaps or inconsistencies.

Where do I play Nurse? In the CHL for now, the AHL next year, and finally in to the NHL slowly the year after that. If The Oilers' defence is bad enough to allow ANY of these kids in to the top 4 this year then it's unlikely they are making the playoffs.

The long term health of this organization will only be strong when prospects are brought up with minor league experience.

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