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: