As someone that looks back and feels that I may have been rushed in my development into the NHL, I think the Oilers returning Darnell Nurse to the Sault Ste Marie Greyounds is a good move for both the player and the team. Of course all players are different, but I see no downside in this move at all.
After his first training camp, many expect Nurse to be a very good player in the NHL but there is no need to rush him. Going back to junior will only give him more confidence and time to grow as a player and a leader. It also gives him the chance to make the World Junior team which is a phenomenal experience as a player.
Coming into camp no one expected Nurse to make the team but as often happens with young kids, camp goes along and teams become faced with the decision of sending a player who has performed well in 2-3 games back to junior or keeping him.
I played 7 games when I was 19 years old and then a full season at 20. Looking back I think I may have been a different player had I played big minutes in the minors in an offensive role my rookie year, rather than 7 with the big boys. Easy to say now, I know.
Nurse being a defenseman, he will certainly get a better opportunity with ice time when the time is right. There is no place to hide on the back end. That is also why it’s much harder for a defenseman to play at such a young age.
Aside from a handful of talents each year, most guys are not ready at 18 or 19 but it always seems to be a common dilemma for teams. Some GM’s make good choices and some get fooled by the 3 game showcase. Most players that young are not physically or mentally ready to play for 82 games against men.
Physically for sure Nurse just isn’t quite there.
NO CUP OF COFFEE
If management didn’t feel that he was likely going to stay the entire year then I like that the Oilers chose to send him home now rather than have him make the team out of camp and give him a glimpse of the regular season. The regular season is another step up and I think from a development standpoint going back to junior now versus him potentially hearing “you know what you are just not ready to cut it yet” four games into the season is the right move.
This way everything has been a positive experience and he can only hold his head high as he heads back to junior. The kid had a great camp and likely exceeded most of the expectations people had for him in the organization. I’m sure that’s the message he heard last night from the coaches and MacTavish even if getting cut stings for a day or two.
The NHL is not far away for Nurse even if sometimes it seems like as fans or players that you have to wait forever. Playing 30 minutes a night in junior is not going to set him back.
A year as he said “dominating” against guys his own age will only help him develop and give him the time to put on some weight. If you like him now, Imagine what he will look like at 220lbs. When he does this kid will be scary good.
I like what the Oil have done. With a new coaching staff and between Brown, Eager, MacIntyre, Joensuu and Acton I expect to see more edge in this lineup. It’s hardly a finished product but it’s clear that more sand paper and size was needed.
Until they find a player that can play like this in a top 6 role or a true heavy that can play more minutes, it’s better to have physicality at least somewhere in your lineup than no place at all.
NATION FANTASY LEAGUE
Along with being a Streakcred addict, I am also an avid NFL and MLB fantasy nerd or whatever you want to call me and I am very excited that I can now try my hand at fantasy hockey.
Having never played before I am unfamiliar with the best settings and ins and outs of it all but I’m sure together we can figure it out as we go along.
If you are interested in playing in my Nation Fantasy League be one of the first 11 to email me at email@example.com and we can go head to head all season.
I will then send you the link to sign up. Check the weekly settings, make sure this is a league you are comfortable with and plan to be competitive in throughout the season; we don’t want any absentee GM’s over here.
I asked Wanye to play but he’s too scared, Streakcred is the game for him. Be sure to sign up for that as well during the early bird special for only $15. Prizes, charity – all the stuff he rambles about on here. You know the story.