Darnell Nurse signs with Edmonton

The Edmonton Oilers announced today that they had signed Darnell Nurse to an entry-level contract.

This isn’t especially big news, but it’s welcome. With most drafted prospects, a team wants to take their time and see how the development goes before getting them inked to a deal, but given Nurse’s draft position and what he’s already proven at the junior level there was never any real doubt that they’d sign him immediately.

This doesn’t change his NHL timeline. Of the first 10 players selected in the 2012 draft, two were forwards and eight were defencemen; both forwards made the jump immediately and all eight defenders are still waiting for their first NHL game. A slightly longer development curve is just the reality of the position. Interestingly, the two defencemen drafted in similar positions in 2011 – ninth overall pick Dougie Hamilton and 10th overall selection Jonas Brodin – both had their debut NHL campaign, which would suggest that Nurse will be ready to at least challenge for an NHL job in 2014-15.

Still, Nurse is going to be a player worth keeping an eye on in 2013-14. As it stands, he projects as a two-way defenceman, but he spent last season on the same team with two of the best offensive defenders in major junior – Ryan Sproul and Colin Miller. As a result, his offensive ability may be underrated; he managed 41 points in 68 games as it was but a big step this season is certainly not out of the question.

Recently around the Nation Network

A day after Mike Gillis said that his talk with Roberto Luongo had gone well, the goaltender switched agents. It’s a strange decision, as Canucks Army’s Jeff Angus makes clear:

Since Luongo’s previous agent, Gilles Lupien, negotiated his 12-year contract, Lupien will continue to collect his percentage of Luongo’s paycheque. So why would [new agents Pat] Brisson and [JP] Barry take him on as a client? Pro bono work? Seems unlikely.

Click the link above to read more; it seems like the Canucks’ goaltending saga has yet to see its last twist. Otherwise, feel free to read some of my recent pieces:

    • Young Oil

      Doesn’t start until he enters the AHL or NHL I believe. But he does have those 9 NHL games he can play at the beginning of the season before his contract starts to run, correct me if I’m wrong.

    • toprightcorner

      As soon as he plays as a pro so OKC or Edmonton. He can stay in junior as long as he is eligible without the contract starting. If he is not ready to make the Oilers after one more year in junior it would be best spending another year in junior instead of burning a year of his contract in OKC.

      It is fairly common for drafted defenceman to spend 2 years in junior as their development is slower than forwards.

    • Rocket

      I wouldn’t even do that. Our blue line is crowded enough without complicating things with Nurse. He’s going down to Junior anyways, so keep him up in Training Camp until the very end and send him back. Giving him a tryout means exposing one of our other Defensemen to waivers needlessly.

  • number99

    If he’s an adult this season (18), then if he’s a good option put him on team now . Others have done it , and look at our own youth right out of junior . Not like we are blessed with a lot of skill or physicality on the back end to begin with . If he’s as good and mature as most of you claim he is then he should be ready and be a difference maker . We don’t have the luxury of babying players , our team needs every boost it can get .

    • Rocket

      I cannot believe I am taking the bait from you of all people, but here goes. You will most certainly ruin Nurse’s huge potential by bringing him to the show this early. Our D is fine and deep. In 3 years Nurse will be miles better then he is today if you let him develop naturally.

  • toprightcorner

    I for one am very happy to see Nurse sign but I am against him being an Oiler for at least two yrs at the most. He has lots to learn and get confident with… plus he needs to bulk up to over 210/220 lbs at least but keep the quickness/speed.

    excellent to have him signed and going…I hope to see a lot of him in Penticton at the YoungStars Tourney.

    Klefbom, Fedun and Marancin are clearly the first wave of defence kids to get to the Oilers and thats why I see Ference as the teacher along with Smid then… see those such Potter on his last yr (UFA), Larsen on his final one (RFA), N. Schultz too (UFA), and Belov (ELC-but RFA or UFA???)and then Grebeshkov (UFA)as well.

    Wow!!!! once these kids start maikng the team along with Musil and/or Davidson, Simpson, Gernat…and of course Nurse…this new future Oilers’ defence will be the best in the league for years to come…IMO.

    If this all mashes great with the forward top core…look out in two years I believe….Western Conference Finals/Stanley Cup Finals.

    Last…. with Nurse being signed and about all the defencemen kids coming up very soon in the system/future…because of Fucale being taken at #36 by MTL before the Oilers next at #37…I wonder now if MacT and the Oilers specifically look for that best top goalie prospect…. with their first or second given draft picks in 2014…(pending where they pick I would say at least)?????

    I’ve been seeing that one of the top goalie prospects for next draft is Justin Paulic (Moose Jaw – WHL)

  • Rocket

    What are you people so afraid of ? Can you imagine Gretzky , Messier , Hall, Gagner , Hopkins and Yakupov going into junior or semi pro when their talent levels are far above them . We”re not a major contender to begin with . The way you people are talking This would be Halls second year , Gagners 4th year , Hopkins his first and Yakupov would not even start till next year . Defence , any bets Brown starts , probably Ristolainen , Murray was ready last year ,but injury kept him out . Most here claim he’s better than Murray . MacKinnon , Droin , etc.. Why insist on coddling them if they are already ready and maybe your best option ? I don’t see too many we have had over the years get destroyed ,and all I believe got better and made our team better at the time . Why use subpar players over them ?

    • toprightcorner

      Thanx for using only forwards to back up your argument of a defenceman playing in the NHL the year they were drafted.

      Not surprised you don’t have a good argument though.

      Your just looking for attention so stop wasting everyone’s time

    • match16

      Read the article, Willis is saying DEFENSEMEN take longer to develop. Gretzky, Messier, Hall, Gagner, Hopkins, Yakupov are all forwards.

      It’s unlikely Klefbom will make the team this year, let alone Nurse…

  • Rocket


    I am not afraid of bringing up Nurse but its time to stop rushing a kid… The #1 reason ya dont bring him up now from junior is those contracts of 9 to 10 ready NHL defencemen ahead of him and because Klefbom, Marancin and Fedun are the most ready from in the prospect system ahead of him.

    Dude….why the rush??? He alone wont make the Oilers win the cup this year so why ya seeking this as an issue?

  • Czar

    Wicked video of Hall stick handling a golf ball on instagram, available on your sportsnet app. “Watch the blur.” The tweets afterward are worth a read as well.

  • Metal&Oil

    Nurse will be a big part of Canada’s WJ team next year, has already been named captain of the Greyhounds and will be on their 1st unit powerplay next season. Rushing him to the NHL and depriving him of this experience would be among the stupidest things this organization could possibly do at this time.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    It’s going to be tough getting used to. Not seeing our 1st round pick for a couple of years. Hopefully he’s added a little more muscle over the summer and he go back and dominate all three zones in junior. The Oil have an excellent player here.

  • Spydyr

    I would like to see him finish his junior career and play at least one year in the AHL before moving up to the NHL.

    The thing is this is the Oilers.They do not develop players they rush them in and it hurts their development.Maybe things have changed but until I see that change it is status quo.

  • smiliegirl15

    I certainly hope he’s underrated and is actually a lot better than people think. Is there a chance he’s overrated because he played with two really good defensemen like Jacques what’s his name because he played with Sydney Crosby? (my apologies, I’ve been partially successful in ridding him from my Oilers’ memory). I realize it’s a different scenario because those two were forwards and Nurse a defensemen but I think stronger players can definitely make weaker players look better than they are regardless of their position.

  • smiliegirl15

    My apologies in advance to oilersnation for feeding the troll …

    Madjam, Pseudo-Madjam, and Fake-Madjam. Nobody cares how many of you there are, or if you are a schizophrenic three-in-one – the comments by all three of you are asinine.

    You don’t rush Nurse into the NHL. Look at Smid as a case-in-point: the guy was a 9th overall pick with tons of promise (and offensive potential). Edmonton rushed him into the NHL, and he was totally out of his depth for the first few years – it stunted his development.

    My analysis of Smid is that he was able to find his comfort level by going 100% defensive, and he is great in that role now. However, if he hadn’t been thrown to the wolves, I think we would have seen more offensive development and he would have been a more complete player overall.

    Apart from the player development angle, there is the basic business angle … Gagner isn’t the best example because he’s a forward, but the oilers would have been much better served business-wise to send Gagner back to junior in his draft year instead of burning a year off his ECL during a losing season. We’d have a lot more cap room right now if they’d done so.

  • Spydyr

    I was more than please, that Oilers picked Nurse
    over Nichuskin . Oilers need is in D and Ctr. positions. Although Nickuskin [ if he sticks to the NHL ], will be a player , LW would be priotiy 3 for the Oilers.

    I guess we will never know, but one wonders
    if Lindholm, or Monhahan were still there at # 7 if the Oilers would have still picked Nurse.[ For what its worth, I would, as I was picking
    Barkov or Nurse.]

    Nurse need no see NHL action for two years. Give the kid a chance to develop!