Edmonton Oilers draft Darnell Nurse seventh overall

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.


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.

  • PlayDirty

    Rod… Thinker… et al.

    You guys are embarassing – go cheer for another team.

    This is ONE FRICKIN’ DAY … talk about putting all your emotional stability in one basket.

    Sometimes the real world doesn’t align with your wet dreams.


    The Oilers are better today than they were yesterday and we didn’t give up any assets.

    • What in the hell are you talking about, I said I would be disappointed if they couldn’t make a trade with one of the second round picks and by the looks on Mac T’s face when the Coburn trade went south he was too.I made the comment before they traded down to stock the cupboards and those moves were great. I also was hoping they would get Nurse as well. As far as being a real fan I have had season tickets for 20 years and have had a lot of long 1 1/2 drives home and have invested thousands in this team you go cheer for another team!

  • Bonvie

    But OKC is not loaded with prospects coming? There are a lot of AHL/ECHL veterans on that team and we’re already losing a number of our older prospects to free agency due to not qualifying them or what-not like Vande Velde, Tyvrainen, etc. in combination with other prospects not quite panning out as expected like Hamilton, Abney, and Pitlick to an extent. The rebuild is far from over in terms of stocking our minor league teams with the right balance of quality talent and only further highlights how bad our drafting and asset management was in the years before we decided to rebuild.

    • bazmagoo

      Depends upon what you think is a prospect and what you think is alot. Let me try again. The Oilers have many prospects in comparison to other organizations, and their prospect depth is concidered to be one of the best.

  • PlayDirty

    I don’t have a problem with Nurse as such. I haven’t even seen him play one period. Maybe MacT should keep his mouth shut. The performance of MacGregor and his scouting staff would suggest they have dropped the ball. This is not going to go well with fans who have been massively oversold on what the Oil were going to deliver. Glad I’m not a class 1 fan.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Thought it was a good day for the Oilers. Nurse is going to be a stud on our blueline hopefully next season (2014-2015). We didn’t get rolled by Holmgren or Gillis (Coburn or Schneider).

    Now MacTavish can deal the 2014 draft selections along with roster players/prospects to “Help” teams with their cap concerns/cutting costs.

    I’d narrow the scope considerably and key in on 8 to 10 players. Hartnell, Couturier, Rinaldo, Ott, Seguin, Bieksa, Myers, D.Brown, Khudobin, Ranger, and put out a 5 yr, 25 mill offer to Clarkson. If they can land a few of these guys it would help a great deal. Myers, Brown, Seguin and Beiksa would take some work, but if these teams had some fiscal foresight, they wouldn’t have to consider a move such as these. Craig can swoop in and present them with some cost cutting financial options/provide them with some wiggle room.

  • DSF

    The only thing that makes sense at this point is if MacT is planning on dealing the prospects we already have like Marincin, Gernat, etc. and he’s preemptively trading for more picks so the prospect cupboard isn’t empty.

    If deals aren’t made within the next few weeks than it’s a little confusing, especially with the goaltender situation.

  • The kid says he wants to meet everyone but he cant wait to play with Nail because he looks like a character.

    Is everyone paying attention here, our team is actually developing a goddam PERSONALITY.

    We have Characters who want to play with other characters, YESSSSSSSSSS!

    Finally someone who isnt feeling pressured to BE the next saviour, someone who is excited to rub shoulders with personalitys instead of just elite skillsets and already recognises the dynamic difference, excellent.

    Compete young man , earn your way, be straightforward and motivated, remember there are no setbacks in pro sports only re-defined challenges.

    Good luck Darnell, I believe you are in a very admirable position here. You have earned the chance to compete for an NHL job now. Make that happen by being here and now every single day, remembering that you are now facing what is the biggest challenge of your life so far, making an NHL team.

    The Honeymoon is over now, its time to start making solid realistic plans.

    Welcome to Edmonton kiddo. Enjoy your week off, and then bust a move man. Remember its not just a job it is an Adventure!

  • I like the pick. There is no rush, let him develop for at least another season in junior. A few years down the road, I think that a top 4 of Nurse, Klefbom, J. Schultz and Petry would look pretty good.

    Nichushkin was the only other option at this point but sooner or later we needed to get somebody like Nurse to really legitimize the future of our D corps. This kid sounds like a real character player, the type of leader that this young team will need on the backend.

  • What a joke, rather than drafting an amazing player in Nichushkin and addressing actual needs of the team, we draft another defence man. While I will say one of our weaknesses is defence, we need NHL ready defence man, Nurse is just a prospect and won’t play for at least 2-3 years in the NHL and we already have some quality D prospects in Marincin, Gernat, Musil and Klefblom. Nichushkin would have fulled two bigger needs, an amazing forward prospect, which we currently have none as it stands right now our best forward prospect is Anton Lander, which is a scary thought. Also we needed a big body at forward. I am just severally disappointed, it just doesn’t seem like they want to get better, it is going to be another long year for Oilers fans.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Seems like I missed all the action(or inaction) today. I admit that I have not seen Nurse in action but tall lanky aggressive not afraid to drop the mitts future leader 1st round pick… seems to also describe Alex Plante and Colten Teubert. We are 5 years away from being able to accurately grade this draft class so I won’t criticize the oil nor will I congratulate them. I will predict another bottom 5 finish, however, if we don’t address our complete lack of NHL centres.

  • paul wodehouse

    …really wanted Monahan…we really needed Monahan…felt like when old yeller died when the Fiester picked him…and a little like when Glencross went south as well and so…


  • paul wodehouse

    We are overloaded with projects and mainly suspects . Our cupboards like Florida are overloaded . Both remain cellar dwellers because having so many makes it hard to give them all ample time and situations to develop . In a nutshell it is taking developing these prospects longer than it should to develop into NHL caliber players .

    The mix of veteran to prospects is out of whack on the farm . Better to have more veterans and winning and only the 5-6 of the best with them to develop more rapidly . There is a big danger in having too many prospects trying to develop at same time . Same scenario could also be said of parent club , I suppose considering results . You want to see barren cupboards go take a look at Philly’s club . Yet , Philly remains more competitive than Florida or the Oilers .

  • paul wodehouse

    Looks like a lot of you lost your heads.
    To me it’s because you all really don’t know who we picked, you just heard from the media who were the most recognized kids and were disappointed that we didn’t get them.

    Darnell Nurse is greater than Sean Monohan.
    Huge body, just wait until he adds pounds to that frame.
    He is exactly what we need. We can always pick up a second / third centerman.
    Franchise defense men are much harder as we haven’t had one since Pronger left. Nurses family is used to the media life which is something he won’t need to learn. Another year in junior and if he’s not in AHL I expect him to get called up.
    I’d give him at least two years to season him, no need to rush.

    I don’t know anything about Bogdam Yakimov but 6’5″ center? Yakupov was already welcoming him and Slepyshev which will really help getting them over.

    Anton Slepyshev is supposed to be a real gem. The Russian factor is why he wasn’t picked last year. Nobody thought he would come over.
    Kids been playing in KHL for two years. This was a big win for us.
    This kid is going to really be something special.

    We stockpiled our prospects as we basically rushed all of our picks to NHL.
    Now we can let them season and have more for our AHL club.

    And everyone annoyed about not landing Brandon Coburn. Just because it didn’t happen at the draft doesn’t mean it won’t happen at all.
    As reported the carter trade didn’t happen right away but did eventually.

    I’m so happy we didn’t trade our #7 for Schnieder.
    We still need to address our goalie situation.
    Maybe Hillier, Emery or someone completely different.

    Give it some time to see how it all pans out.

  • paul wodehouse

    I am okay with this draft. Now Nurse will have an opportunity to play as a #1 D and will have a lot more time on the PP, which will further his development in the Soo. I have faith in MacT, for a new and impatient GM, he hasn’t lost his head and sold the farm. If you try to always swing for the fences you are going to strike out at least 65% of the time.

    Patience people, lets see what the next month brings, we don’t need any more teenagers on this roster.

    The Oilers have added to the depth of the prospects pool and in the end it will make for a more competitive atmosphere, which will ultimately benefit the team. The draft is about bringing in potential, its about 3-5 yrs from now, not about today, too many 1st overall picks have confused too many posters….

  • paul wodehouse

    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.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      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.