Developing D-men requires patience

Jason Gregor
August 04 2014 10:39PM

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There is no development timeline that works for every defenceman, however, it is obvious that the vast majority of them require more seasoning in junior before playing in the NHL.

There are extremely rare exceptions like Drew Doughty -- who can maintain their confidence and poise and within two years be one of the best defencemen in the world -- but most D-men, even the top-end ones, need more time in junior, college or the minors to develop their game.

If you believe Darnell Nurse should or will play in the NHL this season, then his developmental curve would be one we've rarely seen.

Before we begin, (I should warn you this is a long article) I want to address the notion "Let's see how he does in camp, before making a decision." It's a nice idea, but successful teams don't apply it. How many of Detroit Red Wings prospects are NHL regulars before their 21st birthday? They either player in the AHL, SEL,NCAA or KHL before debuting in the NHL. They have a plan not to rush kids, and it has worked incredibly well.

The other reason why the "give him a chance to prove himself" theory doesn't jive with Nurse is because history shows that D-men on his developmental path don't play in the NHL at 19.

FUN GAME OF COMPARISONS..

Let's look at D-men drafted in the top-15 over the last 15 years. Many of them have one main common denominator; they played in the World Junior Championships.

The only Canadian D-man in the last 15 years who didn't make the WJC team at 18, but played in the NHL at 19 was Michael Del Zotto.  (I didn't see many pre-2000 either, but I can't say with certainty that there were none). He actually wasn't even invited to the 38-man summer camp for Canada the summer after he was drafted, because the scouts said his defensive game wasn't strong enough. 

Nurse making the Oilers this year would put him in an extremely rare category alongside Del Zotto. 

Here are the D-men drafted in the top-15 since 2000.

**When I say drafted at 19, some are 19 years old at the draft, while others aren't actually 19 on draft day, but they turn 19 before Dec 31st that year. It is the junior eligibility rule.**

2000

Rostislav Klesla: 5th overall to Columbus. Went back to junior for one year and played in the WJC. Debuted in the NHL at 19. He had a decent NHL career, but was never considered an elite D-man. Scored 20 points twice.

Lars Jonsson: 7th overall to Boston. Played in the WJC and made NHL debut when he was 24 playing for Philly. Only played eight games.

Ron Hainsey: 13th overall to Montreal. He was drafted at 19. He played at the WJC twice for USA, and made his pro debut at 20 in the AHL. He has had a solid NHL career.

2001

Mike Komisarek: 7th overall to Montreal. He was drafted at 19. Played at the WJC twice. Made pro debut when he was 20. Playing 56 games in the AHL and 20 in the NHL The following year he split time equally between AHL and NHL and became a regular in NHL when he was 23 years old.

Dan Hamhuis: 12th overall to Nashville. Played at 18 and 19 for Canada at WJC. Spent 19 year old season in WHL, then made pro debut following year for Milwaukee in AHL. He won a gold medal for Canada at the Olympics this year. He is a very good D-man.

Igor Knyazev: 15th to Carolina. Played WJC for Russia and then debuted in AHL at 19. Spent two years in the AHL and then went to KHL. Never played a game in the NHL.

2002

Jay Bouwmeester: 3rd to Florida. Bouwmeester made the WJC team when he was 16, 17 and 18. Played in the NHL as a 19 year old rookie in 2002/2003. He is one of the top D-men in the NHL.

Joni Pitkanen: 4th to Philadelphia. Played two years in WJC for Finland. His pro debut was as a 20-year-old with the Flyers in 2003/2004. He has had a solid career. 

Ryan Whitney: 5th to Pittsburgh. He was drafted at 19. Played two years in WJC, and played two years of college after being drafted. Made pro debut at 21 playing in the AHL for Wilkes-Barre. Was a regular with Penguins when he was 22. Injuries cut his career short.

Keith Ballard: 11th to Buffalo. He turned 20 five months after being drafted. Played one year at WJC for USA, spent two more years in college after being drafted and made pro debut at 22 with Utah in AHL. He played with Phoenix the following season. 

Steve Eminger: 12th to Washington. Drafted at 19 and represented Canada at WJC for one season. Played 15 games as a 19-year-old with the Capitals and then was sent back to junior. The next year he split season between AHL and NHL, 41 games each. Played almost 500 games for six different teams over nine seasons.

2003

Ryan Suter: 7th to Nashville. Played three years of WJC for USA. Played one year of college after being drafted, then debuted in AHL at 19 (lockout year), and then debuted with Predators at 20. He is now one of the best D-men in the NHL.

Braydon Coburn: 8th to Atlanta. Played two years for Canada at WJC. Played two more years of junior after being drafted and then debuted in NHL at 20 with the Thrashers. Is a solid 2nd pair defender.

Dion Phaneuf: 9th to Calgary. Identical path as Coburn. Played two years for Canada at WJC. Played two more years of junior after being drafted and then debuted in NHL at 20 with the Flames. Top pairing D-man in the NHL.

Brent Seabrook: 14th to Chicago. Same route as Phaneuf and Coburn. Played two years for Canada at WJC. Played two more years of junior after being drafted and then debuted in NHL at 20 with the Blackhawks. Top pairing D-man in the NHL.

2004

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Cam Barker: 3rd to Chicago. Played two years for Canada at the WJC and spent two more years in the WHL after being drafted. Made pro debut at 20, and he split season between AHL and NHL. He never found his groove in the NHL, and after 310 games over seven seasons he was done.

Ladislav Smid: 9th to Anaheim. Played in three WJC for Czech Republic. Made his pro debut at 19 in the AHL, and then played for the Oilers when he was 20. Has already played 530 NHL games. Is a stay-at-home D-man who doesn't produce much offensively.

Boris Valabik: 10th to Atlanta. Played two years at WJC for Slovakia. Spent two years in junior after being drafted and made pro debut at 20 in AHL. Only played 80 NHL games. He was huge, 6'7", 245 pounds but he couldn't skate well enough to stay in the league.

A.J. Thelan: 12th to Minnesota. Never played for USA at the WJC. Played one year of college after being drafted, but then he got kicked out of school for violations. Then played in the WHL at 19 and 20. Made pro debut at 21 in the ECHL. He only played 10 games in the AHL before retiring due to injury.

2005

Jack Johnson: 3rd to Carolina. He represented USA twice at WJC. He played two years of college after being drafted and at the completion of his second year he dressed for five games with the Kings. He was in the NHL at 20. He has played 490 NHL games and he is solid NHL player.

Brian Lee: 9th to Ottawa. He played for USA twice at the WJC. He played two years of college after being drafted and he made pro debut in the AHL at 20 years old. Played 209 NHL games over six seasons in Ottawa and Tampa Bay and is now out of the league.

Luc Bourdon: 10th to Vancouver. Played two years for Canada at the WJC. He did play 9 games for the Canucks when he was 19, but he was sent back to junior. He became a regular pro player at 20 years of age playing 41 games in the AHL and 27 in the NHL. Sadly, he passed away in a motorcycle accident later that summer.

Mark Staal: 12th to New York Rangers. Played two years for Canada. Made his regular pro debut at 20 with the Rangers. Like Nurse he did play some AHL playoff games at the end of his 18 year old season in the OHL. Staal was tracking to be in consideration for the Olympic team until concussions slowed him down. He has recovered and is a solid top pair defender. 

Sasha Pokulok: 14th to Washington. Was drafted at 19. Played one year for Canada at WJC. He played another year in college after being drafted and then left Cornell early. He suffered numerous injuries and played only 68 AHL games and 93 ECHL games over four years. 

2006 

Erik Johnson: 1st to St.Louis. He played for USA at the WJC when he was 17 and 18. He played one year of college after being drafted and then made his pro debut with the Blues at 19. Johnson is a now a top-pair D-man.

2007

Thomas Hickey: 4th to Los Angeles. Played for Canada twice at the WJC. He was the captain in 2009. He played two years of junior after being drafted and started in the AHL when he was 20. He suffered two injuries, ankle and shoulder, limiting him to 19 games. He made his NHL debut with the Islanders in January of 2013. This past season he was a decent #4/5 for the Islanders.

Karl Alzner: 5th to Washington. Played two years for Canada in the WJC. He was drafted at 19 and played one more year of junior. He turned pro at 20 and split his first two seasons between the AHL (104 gmaes) and NHL (51 games). He has not missed a game during the past four years with the Capitals and is a solid top-four D-man.

Keaton Ellerby: 10th to Florida. He was drafted at 19. He never played at the WJC, but he did play for Canada in the 2007 Super Series. He played junior at 19 and then played in the AHL at 20. He has played 211 NHL games for Florida, LA and Winnipeg. He is a #6 D-man.

Ryan McDonagh: 12th to Montreal. Played one year for USA at the WJC. He played three years of college after being drafted. Debuted in AHL at 21 and was recalled midway through the season to the Rangers. He has become one of the best defenders in the NHL.

Ryan Shattenkirk: 14th to Colorado. Same path as McDonagh. Played one year for USA at the WJC and he played three years of college after being drafted. Made pro debut at 21, 10 games in the AHL and then recalled to Colorado. He was traded to Blues after 46 games with the Avs. Is a second pair D-man with good offensive instincts, but needs work in his defensive zone.

Alex Plante: 15th to Edmonton. He never played at the WJC. Played two more years of junior and turned pro at 20. Was an AHL player, got into 10 NHL games, and last season he played in Austria.

2008

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Drew Doughty: 2nd to Los Angeles. Played for Canada at the WJC when he was 18. He was drafted at 19, late birthday, and went directly to the NHL. He has two to Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals. He is arguably the best D-man in the game.

Zach Bogosian: 3rd to Atlanta. Never played for USA at the WJC, because he was in the NHL at 18. He was injured his first season and has missed 106 games in his first six seasons. He is a solid 2nd pair defender.

Alex Pietrangelo: 4th to St. Louis. Played twice for Canada at the WJC. He did play nine NHL games at 18 and 19, but he was sent back to junior both times. He made the Blues when he was 20 and is one of the top-ten D-men in the NHL.

Luke Schenn: 5th to Toronto. Played for Canada at WJC when he was 18. Was drafted at 19 by the Leafs and went straight to the NHL. Has played 436 NHL games and is 3rd pairing D-man with the Flyers.

Tyler Myers: 12th to Buffalo. Played for Canada once at the WJC. Made NHL debut with the Sabres at 19. He won the Calder trophy in his rookie season, but he hasn't regained that form since. He plays top pair minutes for the Sabres.

Colten Tuebert: 13th to Los Angeles. Played two years for Canada at the WJC. He turned pro at 20 and spent the majority of his three years in the AHL. He did play 24 NHL games with the Oilers. He played in Germany last season.

Erik Karlsson: 15th to Ottawa. Played one year for Sweden at the WJC. He played one more season in the SEL and then made the Senators at 19. He played nine NHL games, but was then sent to the AHL for a month where he played 12 games and then was recalled by the Senators. At 21 years young he exploded with a 78-point season and won the Norris trophy. He is the best offensive defenceman in the NHL.

2009

Victor Hedman: 2nd to Tampa Bay. Played two years for Sweden at WJC. He was drafted at 19 and went directly to the NHL. He has had a solid NHL career, but he really emerged as an excellent top-pair defender this past season. He had a career-high 55 points and excellent possession numbers.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson: 6th to Phoenix. He played one year at the WJC representing Sweden. He played one more season in the Swe-1 (2nd division in Sweden) and then made the Coyotes at 19. Because he was drafted out of Europe, he was allowed to play in the AHL at 19 and he played 15 games in the AHL during his first NHL season. He is now a top pair defender, playing almost 26 minutes/game for the Coyotes.

Jared Cowan: 9th to Ottawa. Played two years for Canada at the WJC. He played two more years of junior after being drafted, and at the conclusion of his second season he went to the AHL and played 10 playoff games. He made the Senators at 20 and has spent three seasons in Ottawa. He is a defensive defenceman and a solid #3 in Ottawa.

Ryan Ellis: 11th to Nashville. Played three years for Canada at the WJC. He played two years of junior after being drafted and then played pro at 20. He split it first two seasons between the AHL (61 games) and NHL (64 games). He was a regular with the Predators five years after being drafted.

Calvin de Haan: 12th to New York Islanders. Played two years for Canada at the WJC. He spent two seasons in junior after being drafted and turned pro at 20 playing 56 games in the AHL. His next season he dislocated his shoulder in his 3rd AHL game and missed the entire season. Last year he played 17 games in the AHL before being recalled in late November. He played 51 games for the Islanders and finished the year as a second-pair defender.

Dmitri Kulikov: 14th to Florida. He played one year for Russia at the WJC. He was drafted at 19 and went directly to the NHL. Kulikov has played five years for Florida. He has missed 97 games in five seasons, so injuries might be a factor in his inconsistency. He is a top-four D-man in Florida and he is still improving.

2010

Erik Gudbranson: 3rd to Florida. He played in one WJC for Canada. He returned to junior for one season after being drafted and then made the Panthers at 19. He played 14 min/game his rookie season, 18:48 his second year and 17:58 this past season. He was a #5 D-man for the Panthers last year and they are hoping to expand his role this season.

Dylan McIlrath: 10th to New York Rangers. He never played for Canada at the WJC. He spent two more years in junior after being drafted and made his pro debut at 20 in the AHL and has played two seasons for Hartford. He did play two NHL games this past season. Many were surprised when he was taken 10th, and he needs to improve his overall game to before becoming a NHL player.

Cam Fowler: 12th to Anaheim. He played one year at the WJC for USA. He was drafted at 19 and went directly to the NHL. Fowler has played four seasons for the Ducks and he has improved every season. He played the most minutes for the Ducks last year, 23:51/game and has become a solid top pairing defender.

Brandon Gormley: 13th to Phoenix. Played one year for Canada at WJC. Played two years of junior after being drafted and debuted in AHL at 20 years young. His second year of pro hockey he played mainly in the AHL, but did get five games in the NHL. He will go to camp this year hoping to become a regular.

Derek Forbort: 15th to Los Angeles. Forbort played one year for USA at the WJC. He played three season of college after being drafted, and turned pro this past season playing for Manchester in the AHL. Forbort will be in tough to crack the lineup of the defending Stanley Cup champions this year.

2011

Adam Larsson: 4th to New Jersey. He played for Sweden at two WJC. He was drafted at 19 and went directly to the NHL. He played 65 games as a rookie, 37 in the shortened season and only 26 last year due to injury. The Devils expect him to play significant minutes this season.

Dougie Hamilton: 9th to Boston. He played two years for Canada at the WJC. He played one year and a half in junior after being drafted. Due to the lockout, he played 32 games in junior and a second tour at the WJC before playing with the Bruins when the NHL season started. He is a rare case of playing in junior and in the NHL at 19 years old.

Jonas Brodin: 10th to Minnesota. Played one year for Sweden at the WJC. He played one year in the SEL after being drafted and during the lockout he started the year in the AHL and then played in Minnesota when the lockout ended. He has played over 23 min/game during his first two seasons.

Duncan Siemens: 11th to Colorado. He never played for Canada at the WJC. He played two more seasons of junior after being drafted, and made his pro debut last year for Erie in the AHL. He likely needs at least one more year of seasoning in the AHL before jumping to the NHL.

Ryan Murphy: 12th to Carolina. Played one year for Canada at the WJC. He played two years of junior after being drafted, and at the conclusion of his second season he played four NHL games and eight AHL games. This past season he started the year in Carolina, was sent to the minors during the Olympic break, recalled after and then had another two week stint later in March. He played 48 NHL games and 22 AHL games this year. The Canes like his offensive upside and will work on improving his defensive zone play.

Jamie Oleksiak: 14th to Dallas. He played one year for Canada at the WJC. He was drafted at 19 out of college, but the next season he played in the OHL. He turned pro at 20 and played mainly in the AHL, 59 games, but he did play 16 in the NHL. Last season, he played 69 games in the AHL and 7 in the NHL. The Stars are hoping he can compete for a spot this season.

2012

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Ryan Murray: 2nd to Columbus. Played one year for Canada at the WJC. He was drafted at 19 and went back to junior for a year. He made his pro debut at 20 with the Columbus Blue Jackets and played top four minutes as a rookie.

Griffin Reinhart: 4th to New York Islanders. Played for Canada twice at the WJC. He played two year of junior after being drafted and he will turn pro this year. He is tracking well to be a solid NHL blueliner.

Morgan Reilly: 5th to Toronto. Played one year for Canada at WJC and then spent one season in junior after being drafted. Played in NHL at 19 with the Maple Leafs this year. They are very high on his skating and puck moving abilities. 

Hampus Lindholm: 6th to Anaheim. He made team Sweden for WJC, but didn't play due to concussion. He played in AHL at 18, rule benefits European players, and then played in the NHL with the Ducks at 19. He played over 19 minutes/game as a rookie and the Ducks are very high on him.

Mathew Dumba: 7th to Minnesota. He played one year for Canada at the WJC. He returned to junior after being drafted, then at 19 he started season in NHL, played 13 games, was loaned for WJC and then sent back to junior afterwards. He will try play pro this season, either with the Wild or in the AHL.

Derrick Pouliot: 8th to Pittsburgh. Played one year for Canada at WJC. He played two years of junior after being drafted and will turn pro this year. He had shoulder surgery in May, so his pro debut will be delayed a few months and likely means he'll start in the AHL.

Jacob Trouba: 9th to Winnipeg. Represented the USA twice at the WJC. Played one season of college after being drafted, and then debuted in NHL at 19 with the Jets. Had a very strong rookie campaign and the Jets believe he will be a solid top-pair D-man for many years.

Slater Koekkoek: 10th to Tampa Bay. Did not play in the WJC. He played two years of junior after being drafted and he will turn pro this year. He is expected to start in the AHL this season.

Cody Ceci: 15th to Ottawa. Did not play in the WJC. Was drafted at 19 and returned to junior for one more season. He made pro debut at 20, starting in the AHL, 27 games, but was recalled to Ottawa and played 49 games this year.

2013

Seth Jones: 4th to Nashville. Played once for USA at the WJC. He was drafted at 19 and went straight to the NHL. He played over 19 minutes as a rookie and the Predators plan to play him even more this year.

Darnell Nurse: 7th to Edmonton. Has yet to play in the WJC. He has played one year of junior since being drafted, and was the focus of this article. All the arrows point to him going back to junior. The suggestion that he won't be tested physically is laughable, when you look at the list of quality D-men who played major junior at 19.

Rasmus Ristolainen: 8th to Buffalo. Played twice for Finland at the WJC, and scored the OT winner to win gold this past January. He was drafted at 19 and started this year in the NHL. He played 19 games with the Sabres, but was then sent down to the AHL. He was then loaned out to WJC. He went back to AHL and then was recalled by the Sabres on March 15th. He played 34 games in AHL and 34 in the NHL. The Sabres are very high on him.

Samuel Morin: 11th to Philadelphia. Has yet to play at the WJC. He returned to junior after being drafted and is expected to play another year in the QMJHL and compete for a spot on Canada's WJC team.

Josh Morrissey: 13th to Winnipeg. Has played once for Canada, and is a lock to make this year's team if he is back in the WHL. He did play 28 AHL games  (20 in playoffs) at the conclusion of his WHL season. The Jets really like him, but they have a lot of depth on their blueline, so it is likely he returns to the Dub.

Ryan Pulock: 15th to Brandon. Didn't play at the WJC. He was drafted at 19 and returned to the WHL last year. He will turn pro this year and take his 100mph slapshot to either the AHL or to the NHL with the Islanders.

WRAP UP

kosuth

  • Outside of former top-15 picks, some of today's best D-men also played junior at 19 or 20.

    P.K Subban played two years at the WJC and he played two more years of junior after he was drafted. He turned pro at 20 and spent his first season in the AHL.

    Shea Weber played one year in the WJC, two years of junior after being drafted and played 46 games in the AHL at 20 years of age, before being recalled to play 28 in the NHL.

    Duncan Keith was playing in the BCHL during his first draft year and wasn't chosen. He went to college at 19 and was drafted in the summer following his first year of college. He played 15 college games the following year, but quit and played in the WHL as a 20-year-old. He then played two years in the AHL before making the NHL at 22.

    Mark Giordano was a rookie in the OHL at 19 and played there at 20 as well. He and Keith were both late bloomers.

  • To recap, these are the Canadian D-men who were either top picks or are elite defenders who played junior at 19 or 20 years of age: Subban, Keith, Weber, Giordano, Hamhuis, Coburn, Phaneuf, Seabrook, Staal, Bourdon, Hickey, Alzner, Pietrangelo, Cowan, Ellis, de Haan, Gormley, Hamilton, Siemens, Murphy, Oleksiak, Murray, Reinhart, Dumba, Koekkoek, Pouliot and Ceci.

  • No one should suggest that Nurse will be hampered of by playing another year of junior. Many of the aforementioned players were just as big and strong as Nurse is now when they went back to junior at 19. He can still improve, and he can have a shot at representing Canada at the WJC.

  • If I was an Oiler fan, I'd rather they be cautious with Nurse than rush him to the NHL. Why would you expect Nurse to buck a trend that very few have. Why risk it? The risk heavily outweighs the reward. There is no guarantee that another year of junior will guarantee Nurse a long, productive career, but the list of D-men who play in the NHL at 19 after having not played in the WJC, is very short. I think most hockey fans understand why very few manage this feat.

  • You can say you want to give Nurse every chance of making the team, and I'm sure the Oilers will, but history and a bit of patience tells you that it would be best for him to spend one more year in the OHL. 

Recently by Jason Gregor:  

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Oiler Al
August 05 2014, 05:26PM
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J.G., what an outline, and the amount of quality work you put into this write up is outstanding! Very informative , I had to read it a couple of times.

As for Nurse, back to junior. You have to new signings on the back end with experience , plus the fact that Marincin and Klebom quality guys who need to be gauged with regards to their real NHL potential

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#52 Harry
August 05 2014, 05:56PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Oh look, it's drago again, attacking another poster.

What a surprise. Is that all you do? Lash out at me too, if you'll feel better about yourself. Probably makes about as much sense as Eakins seeking the influence of an NFL coach, eh? Consider his point validated.

AAAAnnd right on cue Serious Gords lapdog Rocky Balboa chimes in with yet another gem of a post.

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#53 OiledStatGuy
August 06 2014, 01:32AM
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@Jason Gregor

If we are talking expectations, we should expect Nurse to make the team or he is behind the curve, or whichever form of average u want to use.

I'm saying this with respect to the position Nurse was drafted.

Let's review the examples listed but now only look at players drafted 5th through 9th. This tight of a range probably balances out a weak draft year from strong one. Also, probably unfair to compare Nurse to #1 and unfair to compare 15th to Nurse.

Note: Alzner, Schenn, Ristolainen were not 19 when drafted because they are Q4 births by calender year.

Not including Nurse that leaves us with 19 picks at 5 - 9 draft position.

Note: all made WJC team in draft year.

Using JG's rule of breaking into NHL (although, Komisarek - 21games and Dumba - 13 games didn't burn rookie status) you get:

D+0 - 2 players

D+1 - 9

D+2 - 5

D+3 - 3

Any average - mean, median, mode - leaves us with expectation of Nurse making team (other than if Oil are chasing value contracts as Dean B suggests).

WJC, red herring, Nurse fell behind devel curve early.

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#54 Ed in Edmonton
August 06 2014, 04:33PM
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OiledStatGuy wrote:

If we are talking expectations, we should expect Nurse to make the team or he is behind the curve, or whichever form of average u want to use.

I'm saying this with respect to the position Nurse was drafted.

Let's review the examples listed but now only look at players drafted 5th through 9th. This tight of a range probably balances out a weak draft year from strong one. Also, probably unfair to compare Nurse to #1 and unfair to compare 15th to Nurse.

Note: Alzner, Schenn, Ristolainen were not 19 when drafted because they are Q4 births by calender year.

Not including Nurse that leaves us with 19 picks at 5 - 9 draft position.

Note: all made WJC team in draft year.

Using JG's rule of breaking into NHL (although, Komisarek - 21games and Dumba - 13 games didn't burn rookie status) you get:

D+0 - 2 players

D+1 - 9

D+2 - 5

D+3 - 3

Any average - mean, median, mode - leaves us with expectation of Nurse making team (other than if Oil are chasing value contracts as Dean B suggests).

WJC, red herring, Nurse fell behind devel curve early.

A good example of cherry picking stats to prove a point.

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#55 OiledStatGuy
August 07 2014, 07:28PM
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@Ed in Edmonton

Gregor or my summary?

Fail to see what you mean by cherry picking.

If you are picked in draft spots 4 - 9, from last 14 drafts, half dmen make team in draft year or draft plus one. No wishful thinking, just the situation.

Including all teams.

JG wasn't fairly including 18 year olds w late bday. Those d are rightfully D+0.

You have something you want to speculate on with no data?

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#56 Dr, No
August 10 2014, 04:05PM
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Great article, totally agree with you except for this

"Jay Bouwmeester: 3rd to Florida. Bouwmeester made the WJC team when he was 16, 17 and 18. Played in the NHL as a 19 year old rookie in 2002/2003. He is one of the top D-men in the NHL."

Seriously? J-Bouw a top d-man in the NHL? NAAAHHHH!!!!! Decent point totals and soft physical play makes you a good defenceman not a top one.

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