LIES, DAMN LIES AND STATISTICS

Lowetide
July 13 2013 08:48AM

For the first time in several years, the Edmonton Oilers first round selection does not boast breathtaking boxcar numbers. Darnell Nurse is a defenseman with a wide range of skills, a 'two-way' type, a 'complete player' in scouting terms. He projects as a fearsome defender who can intimidate and run over the opposition--Oiler fans recognize that kind of talent--they've seen it for years from the opposition. Nurse also offers an underrated offensive side. In this area, he is an emerging talent.

OFFENSE

Nurse--uniquely among the top 3 CHL defenders chosen this season--played a lesser offensive role in his draft year. That may have impacted the perception of value although it didn't hurt his draft number. Nurse plays for a very good Sault Ste. Marie Greyhound team, with two defensemen ahead of him in the PP pecking order. Both Ryan Sproul (20-46-66 including 11 powerplay markers) and Colin Miller (20-35-55, 8 man advantage goals) played ahead of Nurse. Both are 20 now, so Nurse should slide into the #1 PP slot this coming season.

What kind of impact did playing on the second powerplay have on Nurse and his numbers? Here's the top 3 CHL defenders chosen in this year's draft and their numbers broken down by discipline.

EV/PP/PK NUMBERS FOR ELITE CHL DEFENDERS 12-13

All three of these defenders are quality puck moving options and Jones is well clear of the group. However, the Oilers have an underrated offensive option based on the boxcars because he's missing about a dozen points (or thereabouts) due only to his spot on the depth chart. At even strength, he is certainly capable and his 2 PK assists suggest that he does indeed play in all three disciplines.

DEFENSE

Nurse's defensive reputation is strong, very strong. The Oilers are getting a rock solid blueliner, a heavy hitter and a guy with a world class mean streak. Oiler fans are going to love him.

  • Brock Otten, OHL Prospects: At this point, Nurse is definitely my top prospect available from the OHL. All season long, I wrestled back and forth between Monahan and Nurse. But it’s clearly Nurse now IMO. He possesses so much potential at the next level. He could be a perennial Norris candidate IMO. The thing I like most about Nurse is how much he improved this season from the last. You need to look at that progression and think about just how good he could be, if he continues to tap into his athletic bloodlines (father was a CFL player), and continues to improve. He’s certainly a potential dynamo at both ends of the ice. His size (6’5, pushing 200lbs), makes him an asset in the defensive end. As does his skating ability. He’s incredibly difficult to get around and he’s physical enough to intimidate. As he gets stronger, I expect his physical game to become more consistent and more effective. He certainly has the mentality to be a bruiser. In the defensive end, he’s still learning a bit. He can get caught out of position at times, but with strong coaching I think this improves. Offensively, he went through the biggest transformation this season. He looked very poised and confident with the puck and took chances in leading and joining the rush. His skating ability makes him a threat offensively. He’s also got an absolute cannon of a shot that will only get better as he gets stronger. His play on the powerplay is improving. This year, with Ryan Sproul and Colin Miller on the point, Nurse was relegated to the 2nd unit. Next year, it’ll be his show to run and I expect very big things from him. When all is said and done, Nurse has the potential to be one of those defenseman who doesn’t really have any holes in his game. He’s the complete package and I think he’s the 2nd defenseman off the board after Seth Jones.

Music!

Also, the brilliant Eric T. posted an article that has Nurse facing the second toughest competition available in his 17-year old OHL season (it is here). Mad, mad arrows in his favor.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Darnell Nurse has the potential to be a complete defenseman, a 25 minute a night blue who can impact the game in all three zones and all three disciplines. Even if he doesn't become a powerplay dynamo, there's so much defensive potential here it's likely he plays in the NHL well up the depth chart due to his defensive and puck moving skills. His passing is strong, his shot is a cannon, he's mobile, strong, tall and lean.

Darnell Nurse is a smart young man and the best defensive prospect drafted by the Oilers since Paul Coffey. No pressure, Darnell.

Also in the series:

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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 Team 1260.
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#1 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
July 13 2013, 09:04AM
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Putting injuries aside......which pair would you rather have.....

Yakupov and Nurse......or

Ryan Murray and Nickushkin???

I think we did ok!

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#2 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
July 13 2013, 09:34AM
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oliveoilers wrote:

OK, well we seem to be off to a good start today. Just waiting for the first 'WTF, we need a #2 C, trade Gagner, trade AHL players for Weber, Penner is Jesus in hockey pads, there's a management conspiracy, fire MacT before his first game, offer sheet player X then see if that team will trade with us'. Did I get 'em all?

Yeah.....I think the kids are still in bed......

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#3 oliveoilers
July 13 2013, 09:32AM
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OK, well we seem to be off to a good start today. Just waiting for the first 'WTF, we need a #2 C, trade Gagner, trade AHL players for Weber, Penner is Jesus in hockey pads, there's a management conspiracy, fire MacT before his first game, offer sheet player X then see if that team will trade with us'. Did I get 'em all?

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#4 Supernova
July 13 2013, 09:48AM
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What wonderful thoughts when you think of what the Oilers top 4 could look like in a few seasons.

Nurse and Schultz Klefbom and Petry

Add in Simpson, Gernat, Marincin, Musil.

We could have trading power with this kind of depth, think of what the Kings had a few years back.

Giddy, just giddy thinking about it.

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#6 bazmagoo
July 13 2013, 11:10AM
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It's time for the Oilers to start drafting based on the future, and not immediate needs. No more rushing players into the NHL before they are ready please.

Nurse projects to be a very solid d-man, starting with his rookie season in 2+ years.

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#7 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
July 13 2013, 12:04PM
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You see what I did there.......in the sport of trolling....it's called the Reverse DSF.....

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#8 Jerod
July 13 2013, 09:43AM
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Derek Zona regarding Darnell Nurse

We've quoted various scouting services here since the draft, but I had a chance to talk to three scouts about Nurse and where he fits in comparison to the defensemen selected in the top 10 since 2010. The answers were surprising:

Scout #1, an NHL amateur scout: "I'd rate him just behind Murray, but ahead of Larsson and Gudbranson."

Scout #2, an OHL scout: "He's a top 5 pick in 2010, and the second defenseman taken in 2011 and 2012."

Scout #3, an NHL amateur scout: "He's the best defenseman in the draft in 2010, equal to Larsson and very close to Murray, though not nearly as polished in his own end as Murray."

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#9 Rob...
July 13 2013, 11:02AM
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If the worst he becomes is an 'average' 6'3" defender, with a mean streak we've done OK. Everything else is gravy.

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#10 Jerod
July 13 2013, 11:16AM
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madjam has a hardon for Rasmus Ristolainen , he has been anti Nurse for a while he reads one report and thinks Nurse can't shoot.

madjam you try to sound intelligent, however I doubt you have ever seen Rasmus or Nurse play. I tend to believe scouts more than bloggers, you on the other hand start with a premise and anything that adds to it you call it gold. Does not matter where the info comes from.

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#11 Mikey
July 13 2013, 09:08AM
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If he turns out to be a meaner J Boewmeester, I would be very happy.

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#12 Geoff
July 13 2013, 09:28AM
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Personally i think nurse becomes a jason smith or kevin bieksa type. And we could use more of that!

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#13 Taylor Gang
July 13 2013, 09:52AM
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Well 2013 was compared to 2003, and Suter was drafted 7th overall in 2003. Maybe Nurse will be Suter! A man can dream...

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#14 Quicksilver ballet
July 13 2013, 11:04AM
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Should be real interesting to watch his progress now that Sproul and Miller are graduating to the AHL/NHL. Think it'd be best he stay in the OHL, bringing him out west to play for the OilKings, would create a huge distraction for him, playing in the shadow of the Oilers an'all.

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#15 jeffff
July 13 2013, 11:21AM
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madjam wrote:

First off I am not anti -Nurse as some think . I project that Nurse will develop , I hope , to be closer/similiar to S.Stevens than just Coburn . Not that either of the others I mentioned were duds at the NHL level in the offensive zone . They were not however offensive juggernauts in the offensive zone . I've yet in highlights ,or any reports of bloggers at training camp , remarking about Nurse having a cannon of a shot in comparison to someone like R.Pulock . Many reports and scouts have commented that's the one aspect of his game he needs to further develop to reach NHL level . That's basically the only contention many see as a possible flaw . Can't complain if he turns out to be the next Scott Stevens , but I have reservations he'll turn out to be an offensive juggernaunt as well . That's a lot of pressure to expect from him to live up to .

Another straw man argument, no one ever said he has a shot like Pulock. In fact you have said numerous times Nurse has a soft shot.

Here is a hint most if not all Junior hockey players need to work on their shot when they get to the NHL.

Moving the goalposts seems to be your modus operandi.

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#17 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
July 13 2013, 11:59AM
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RNH, Hall, Yak, Eberle, J Schultz, Nurse, Klefbom....

MAYBE MacKinnon sneaks in in between Nurse and Klefbom..... ;)

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#18 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
July 13 2013, 12:12PM
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Rog. wrote:

This is simply a repeat article that we have seen 2 or 3 times since this guy has been drafted. We get it, he has potential. Don't all draft picks? Lets just save the articles for real information instead of "lets pump our tires hockey news". Its almost mid-July. Take a break already.

-every sports fan in the city

I think you passenger side rear is a little low......

you should probably pull over and blow (coughmecough)...............it up..................blow it up.............you know..............inflate it.

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#19 oliveoilers
July 13 2013, 12:13PM
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Rog. wrote:

This is simply a repeat article that we have seen 2 or 3 times since this guy has been drafted. We get it, he has potential. Don't all draft picks? Lets just save the articles for real information instead of "lets pump our tires hockey news". Its almost mid-July. Take a break already.

-every sports fan in the city

Not this sports fan. Bugger off some where else if you do not like the article. Freedom is indeed a great gift. Use it. Personally, I think the ON bloggers do a good job of keeping it fresh and inspiring debate (sometimes heated, granted) between the ON followers. No where does it say Mr Rog. must read this on pain of death. Now, if you would oblige us by commenting on the thread with a hockey based reply, that would be awesome. But watch out, some of these guys can be pretty merciless!

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#20 LinkfromHyrule
July 13 2013, 08:59PM
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Rog. wrote:

This is simply a repeat article that we have seen 2 or 3 times since this guy has been drafted. We get it, he has potential. Don't all draft picks? Lets just save the articles for real information instead of "lets pump our tires hockey news". Its almost mid-July. Take a break already.

-every sports fan in the city

if your so smart why don't you write articles about this so-called real news/information. I appreciate having something to read in the hockey desert that is july.

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#21 Paq Twinn
July 13 2013, 09:07AM
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I have high hopes for Mr.Nurse. I can see him being A LOT like that "human rake" that once dominated games from the backend in '06. All he needs is time and proper guidance. Looking forward to tracking his progress this season.

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#22 LastManStanding
July 13 2013, 09:09AM
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Good read. Like what I'm hearing. Guessing he'll end up back in OHL next year, but based on high dman picked in recent drafts, it won't take long for his NHL debut. Pietrangelo, Myers, Karlsson, Doughty all made impacts within two years of their draft year in 2008. Here is hoping 2014-2015 Nurse earns himself the Calder. Great Pick.

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#23 oliveoilers
July 13 2013, 09:11AM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Putting injuries aside......which pair would you rather have.....

Yakupov and Nurse......or

Ryan Murray and Nickushkin???

I think we did ok!

I'm with you. The other two may turn out to be superstars, but our boys will be no slouches either! Safe pick with Nurse, who I think at WORST will be a #4-5 D-man, and a nasty mean one at that. Not to be sniffed at. And Yak? Well, 'nuff said really.

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#24 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
July 13 2013, 09:12AM
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If he played for the Oil Kings I'd definitely pay to watch him play.

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#25 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
July 13 2013, 09:23AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Old Retired Guy: one of my current pet peeves. Many Oiler fans seem to believe picking the right guy--even at #1--is a no brainer. Oilers have drafted extremely well in the first round since 2008 imo.

Agreed.

One of my pet peeves is "zippers that get stuck"....at just the wrong time!!

Mmmmmm....Mila

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#26 Dutchscooter
July 13 2013, 09:24AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Old Retired Guy: one of my current pet peeves. Many Oiler fans seem to believe picking the right guy--even at #1--is a no brainer. Oilers have drafted extremely well in the first round since 2008 imo.

Yes, just ask Ottawa or Atlanta. Even first overall isn't a gimme.

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#27 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
July 13 2013, 09:28AM
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I thought there was some negative press about Nurse NOT having a strong shot.....Brock Otten says he has a cannon of a shot......I wonder which account is true?

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#28 Jerod
July 13 2013, 09:35AM
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I've wondered where the Oilers ranked the players after the first 4 picks in the draft.

Stu did say it really comes down to 2 players if someone falls out of the top 6.

Where was Nurse ranked by the Oilers 5, 6 , 7 or 8th

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#29 oliveoilers
July 13 2013, 09:35AM
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Geoff wrote:

Personally i think nurse becomes a jason smith or kevin bieksa type. And we could use more of that!

I would be happy with that! And if he has a little offense? Gravy, baby, gravy!

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#30 a lg dubl dubl
July 13 2013, 09:53AM
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Just a thought, can the Oil kings trade with the greyhounds so we can "track" Nurse better or cant because of the whl/ohl thing?

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#31 DonDon
July 13 2013, 09:59AM
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oliveoilers wrote:

OK, well we seem to be off to a good start today. Just waiting for the first 'WTF, we need a #2 C, trade Gagner, trade AHL players for Weber, Penner is Jesus in hockey pads, there's a management conspiracy, fire MacT before his first game, offer sheet player X then see if that team will trade with us'. Did I get 'em all?

You missed Hemsky and trading Schultz the Elder.

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#32 Smokey
July 13 2013, 09:59AM
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I only read couple reports on Nurse at Oilers rookie camp, and the player sounds raw and will have to add weight. Sounds like he is at least 2 years away minimum. Sounds like a sublime skater and has some nice skills.

Ristolainen sounds like he may be more ready and be able to make the jump according to observers in Buffalo at their camp. At least he can make the jump to the AHL and develop there.

I did not think there was much separating these two players. Wanted Ristolainen because the Oilers need to start competing now. Oh well, we got a fine player.

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#33 Manfly
July 13 2013, 10:08AM
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Murray and Nuchushkin would have been OK too, but i'd still rather have Nail and Nurse.

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#34 Oiler Al
July 13 2013, 10:20AM
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Hope the mold we are using is Pronger [ on ice ], This was a great pick by the Oilers, size, shot, skates, element of grit/toughness.If he develops his hockey IQ, he will be a great D man.

MacT, please do not rush him, he's only 18. Wait till this guy fills out .. lookout.

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#35 madjam
July 13 2013, 10:33AM
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First off I am not anti -Nurse as some think . I project that Nurse will develop , I hope , to be closer/similiar to S.Stevens than just Coburn . Not that either of the others I mentioned were duds at the NHL level in the offensive zone . They were not however offensive juggernauts in the offensive zone . I've yet in highlights ,or any reports of bloggers at training camp , remarking about Nurse having a cannon of a shot in comparison to someone like R.Pulock . Many reports and scouts have commented that's the one aspect of his game he needs to further develop to reach NHL level . That's basically the only contention many see as a possible flaw . Can't complain if he turns out to be the next Scott Stevens , but I have reservations he'll turn out to be an offensive juggernaunt as well . That's a lot of pressure to expect from him to live up to .

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#36 vetinari
July 13 2013, 10:35AM
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We seem to have been built from front first, then to the back. If Klefbom can crack the lineup this season, or more likely, the next and Nurse shows up in 2014 or 2015, we have two out of six defensive positions set for the next 5 to 7 years.

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#37 Quicksilver ballet
July 13 2013, 10:43AM
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Chris Pronger jr, yeah baby!. Chris never had that Alan Macinnes cannon from the blueline either but he did alright.

It'll be difficult watching Nichushkin have an immediate impact over these next two seasons before Darnell starts making an impact, but Darnell will be worth the wait. There's no wildcard element attached to his future.

5 yrs from now, we could very well be watching the best kids selected in the last 4 entry drafts. Of those 4, Nurse is the first real first round scouting selection taken when they went against the concensus BPA norm. Time will confirm, they chose wisely.

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#40 They're $hittie
July 13 2013, 11:09AM
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Jerod wrote:

Derek Zona regarding Darnell Nurse

We've quoted various scouting services here since the draft, but I had a chance to talk to three scouts about Nurse and where he fits in comparison to the defensemen selected in the top 10 since 2010. The answers were surprising:

Scout #1, an NHL amateur scout: "I'd rate him just behind Murray, but ahead of Larsson and Gudbranson."

Scout #2, an OHL scout: "He's a top 5 pick in 2010, and the second defenseman taken in 2011 and 2012."

Scout #3, an NHL amateur scout: "He's the best defenseman in the draft in 2010, equal to Larsson and very close to Murray, though not nearly as polished in his own end as Murray."

I saw this too. Can we come to the conclusion on this rating than as prospects (not finished products)based on those scouts

Murray

Nurse (one vote larsson, one vote nurse, one tie) Larsson

Gudbranson

Hamilton

Brodin

also can be concluded

nurse > fowler, gromley, mciilrath, murphy, oleksiak, klefbom, beaulieu, reinhart, reily, lindholm, dumba, pouliot, touba, koekkoek

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#41 Tetsutsu
July 13 2013, 11:18AM
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Hey Lowetide,

Changing the subject a bit, but I'm curious to get an opinion from someone in the business about this...

If Hall, RNH and Yak's draft years were all in 2013, where to you think they would have been ranked among the big four of this year?

My list would be this:

1) Hall 2) MacKinnon 3) RNH 4) Jones 5) Drouin 6) Yak 7) Barkov

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#42 They're $hittie
July 13 2013, 11:22AM
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Hall, Mac, Yak, RNH, Jones, Bark, Drouin

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#43 D
July 13 2013, 11:38AM
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Who is this Coffey guy you're talking about LT? No pressure indeed.

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#44 Smokey
July 13 2013, 11:46AM
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I would like a stab at it.

McKinnon, RNH, Hall, Jones, Yak, Skinner, Drouin.

Some one should write a blog on conduct a poll, THIS IS FUN,

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#45 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
July 13 2013, 11:51AM
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They're $hittie wrote:

I saw this too. Can we come to the conclusion on this rating than as prospects (not finished products)based on those scouts

Murray

Nurse (one vote larsson, one vote nurse, one tie) Larsson

Gudbranson

Hamilton

Brodin

also can be concluded

nurse > fowler, gromley, mciilrath, murphy, oleksiak, klefbom, beaulieu, reinhart, reily, lindholm, dumba, pouliot, touba, koekkoek

Maybe......but Brian Burke says Toronto would have taken Morgan Reilly 1st OVERALL....not just among defencemen but OVERALL !!!

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#46 madjam
July 13 2013, 12:04PM
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Seems odd this may be the first year in 3 our first pick may not be ready to make the NHL jump . I guess I've grown accustomed to that luxury .

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#47 Rog.
July 13 2013, 12:07PM
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This is simply a repeat article that we have seen 2 or 3 times since this guy has been drafted. We get it, he has potential. Don't all draft picks? Lets just save the articles for real information instead of "lets pump our tires hockey news". Its almost mid-July. Take a break already.

-every sports fan in the city

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#48 Gordoil
July 13 2013, 12:07PM
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MacT did say prior to the draft that they would draft the player with the most impact in their prime (not same words but to that effect). I believe most of us expected Nichushkin. Drafting Nurse was probably the better move long term, hopefully we can look back in 2 - 5 years and say that was Bold move #1. I am.

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#49 oliveoilers
July 13 2013, 12:08PM
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Sorry boys, but Hall is by far the best of the bunch in ability, room for growth and attitude. Also by far the most proven! I can see MacKinnon being more of an impact player than Eberle (I am only going to compare him to other forwards, apples to apples). Then there is the Yak factor....I see RNH as an awesome complementary player, but not able to take over a game as Hall and MAYBE MacKinnon can. On defence, if Nurse gets to be half the player Pronger was for us, then that is a result. Maybe we find out about Klefbom this year.

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#50 Bucknuck
July 13 2013, 12:17PM
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Rob... wrote:

If the worst he becomes is an 'average' 6'3" defender, with a mean streak we've done OK. Everything else is gravy.

I'm with you. Managing expectations is the best way not to get all bent out of shape regarding a certain player (like Jason Arnott, for instance).

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