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.


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.


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 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.

  • Does anyone know of a way we fans can see up to the minute transaction info for the NHL? It drives me nuts that we have to wait hours for waiver wire info to filter it’s way through the media.

  • Jay Gray

    “With a new coaching staff and between Brown, Eager, MacIntyre, Joensuu and Acton I expect to see more edge in this lineup.”

    Yup, the team just had too much talent. By adding MacIntyre, and retaining Brown and Eager, that should help bring it down to a more acceptable level. Why bother having an effective bottom 6 that could do stupid things like outscore the opposition, or kill penalties…

    • Jay Gray

      You obviously do not understand role players, line match-ups, ……….probably the game of hockey.

      Your sarcasm tells me you have never played the game………you can’t have four first lines stupid!

      • TeddyTurnbuckle

        They aren’t role players though. None of these guys are an acceptable option for the PK. MacIntyre and Brown are below NHL replacement level, and Eager is borderline, which probably makes him an acceptable 4th liner.

        Acton and Joensuu are good additions based on preseason performance.

        • Dan 1919

          Who would you have kept coming out of training camp instead?

          Eager can skate well and can turn BACK into a bruiser if Eakins can re-ignite him, and he will definitely bring some missing grit. His game is much better from when he was cut last year. Unfortunately he’s a far better option than Jones (hopefully he just needs some time to get his game back).

          Joensuu and Brown are both good energy players, ideal for the bottom six.

          Hopefully Acton just needs a bit more time and will bring more energy to his game.

          MacIntyre is needed, loose lots with him in the lineup but gain lots also. People think guys like MacIntyre don’t matter because we watch the game from our comfy couches or stands. Next time you’re at the bar, walk up to a small guy with a 6’5″ 240lb shredded friend next to him, and tell the small guy he’s just some hotdog and you’re going to run him. And then, because fighting is not only allowed, it’s encouraged, tell me that having that guy on the team doesn’t do anything.

          Not saying our bottom six is going to make us a contender, but I think it’s the best of what they have right now, and I like where MacT is taking the team. He will add to it as he can.

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    I don’t mind the changes Dallas has brought this training camp. I’m glad Ryan jones isn’t on the team because he brings zero toughness to the oilers. No way he gets claimed either at 1.5 million. Smyth has looked good suprisenly and I welcome all the tough guys to the bottom six. We are in a bit of a tough spot in center but when gags and nuge come back we will be a hell of a team. Maybe for once we won’t get beat up and physically dominated for the first time in 4 years .

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Breaking my own cherry on a Sutherby post! I remember watching you in the WJHC. Glad to have your perspective on things.

    I just hope they cage Nurse up, poke him with a bull prod & feed him a bowl of blood every morning. I want this kid to eat grown men alive when he breaks into the NHL.

    On a more serious note, I admire the kid’s eloquence in front of the camera. He’s well spoken and obviously quite intelligent on and off the ice. Dumb talented Dmen are great until 34, the smart one’s are better for longer. I’ve got great expectations for this kid.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    As ccppernblue article went :If Tams were to tell you his bottom six was going to be 4 AHL’ers and 3 fists with little to no NHl talent , you’d all be up in arms about how ridiculous this was . Yet , how many of you are drinking this kool aid because it’s not Tams ?

    • Admiral Ackbar

      But of course, the bottom six is not composed of AHLers and fists. By the end of November, the top 3 centers will be Hall, RNH and probably Gordon, moving Gagner to wing to join Eberle, Yak,Perron, Hemsky, and Smyth. The fourth line will be three of Eager, Brown, Acton, Joennsu and very occasionally Macintyre. An upgrade over last year for sure, by how much is yet to be seen.

      • But of course, the bottom six is not composed of AHLers and fists.

        Ummm… Actually it kind of is right now. End of November is a long ways away. A full 1/4 of the season will be gone by then and there is good reason to be concerned. A highly unproven bottom 6 could prove disastrous. We had all better hope that MacT and Eakins are correct in their assessment of who is populating the bottom of the roster currently because if they are not, playoffs will be out of reach by Christmas.

          • So you are completely ignoring that FACT that the bottom 6 is a mix of inexperience and no skill. Question, your house is beautifully renovated but you foundation is leaky and every time it rains you end up with an inch of water on the floor. You drain it every time but never repair the foundation. Is that house worth anything? Is it a well constructed house?

            If you’re always looking up and not watching where you’re walking you’re going to step in a hole eventually.

            Give your head a shake or pull it out of the sand.

          • I’m not ignoring the temporary injury problem. I’m just hopeful that the elite skill up front will carry them until the forward depth can start to manifest. A fourth line of Brown, Eager and Lander or whoever compares favorably with fourth lines around the league. Check it out. The cap makes sure of that. And when RNH and Gagner return the bottom 6 whoever they turn out to be will not be lacking in skill and experience, of that I am sure. No need for pessimism. Yet.

          • I believe Chicago and Boston would have something to say about depth players. I think everyone remembers Chicago fourth line protecting leads and scoring big goals in the SCF. The analogy about foundations is bang on.

            All we have to look back at for a better example of lack of depth in the bottom six it was last year. If the Oiler’s botton six was at least average last year this team was playoff team. But instead the 3/4 lines were brutal and did not contribute. My hope is Acton and Hamilton are good ads, Eager has a fire lit under his butt so we don’t have to see Brown.

          • 2004Z06

            Are you really comparing the bottom end of a team to the foundation of a house? Doesn’t every team build their core talent of players and then find complementy players to make the team look “nice”

            Give your head a shake or pull it out of the mud.

          • Are you really comparing the bottom end of a team to the foundation of a house? Doesn’t every team build their core talent of players and then find complementy players to make the team look “nice”

            Analogy, go see Uncle Google.

    • Eakins and MacT’s moves don’t give me alot of faith. Starting with Acton and Hamilton. These are homer ads. The advantage is they know the Eakins system. Not really sure if either really earned a spot. Eager had 5 seconds of glory which kept him from joining Jones on the waiver wire. SMAC….good grief! Brown….meh.

      If the team was based on merit then Nurse should of earned 9 games. Pitlick might of earned a job. Jarjar wouldof had a longer look, cause he was better the Acton or Lander.

      The fourth line is brutal. Has one energy guy whos a fringe player, one disinterested goon in Eager, and Acton who deserves a look, but is he really better then Smithson or Steckel or Mueller who we could of signed.

      • Ducey

        You have to balance training camp with what guys have done in the past. Training camp is a very small sample size and exhibition games involve juggled lineups against non NHL competition.

        Pitlick hasn’t done much in the AHL, so keeping him up based on training camp is not the smart move. Let him build on the momentum and give him top 6 minutes in the minors and you maximize the asset. Maybe he will become more than a 4th line banger. His resume from amateur hockey certainly says so.

        Khaira is miles from being NHL ready. He still has to prove himself in junior. Nurse has the physical tools but isn’t strong enough or mature enough for the NHL.

        Hamilton did have 48pts last year in only 56 AHL games. Thats pretty good. He will get his nose dirtier than Jones would.

        Arcobello was a point a game in the AHL last year and should be an ok fill in for the top 6 until Nuge gets back.

        Acton is the one guy I am a little leery about. He has never put up many points, but we have to remember he is in just his third professional season. He seems to skate well enough, can win a faceoff, PK, can hit and he may fight a little (60 PIMs last year). He is Smithson except with some possible upside.

        You have to recall that for much of last season the Oilers had guys like Petrell, Belanger, Lander, and Hordichuk in their bottom six. They also had Smyth out of position.

        This bottom six with Joensuu, Gordon, Hemsky/ Smyth is going to be quite a bit better.

        • I agree completely with your assessment that you have to balance experience with what one does I was in no way suggesting we should go with Pitlick, JarJar, Nurse. Nurse I would of given 9 games. He earned it.

          However going with guys like Acton, Hamilton rather then getting the available free agents in July that were bonified NHL’er was ridiculous. We signed Jones for 1.5 when Pouliot was available for less and Raymond agreed to PTO’s.

          I guess I am saying that when I see 20 year olds performing at similar levels to these Marlie All-Stars we chose over bonified NHL’er that is not good.

  • Poolanov

    It was definitely the right move to send Nurse back. I’m glad that Mactavish went out and added some competition for the last few spots on the blueline which allowed guys like Klefbom, Nurse, Fedun and Marincin to go back to junior or the AHL and continue their development. Nurse could stand to put on some muscle but when he fills out and gets NHL experience, he’s going to dominate. I look forward to following his junior season and hopefully watching him at the World Juniors.

  • ..again..DSF, you don’t and maybe can’t imagine, yes that’s the right word..that the team is a little different than it was last year..why do think that is? I see it and feel it. I believe its way stronger thru the 3rd line and 4th line, but there is an obvious difference in the “team”..what is it?

  • I like the look and feel of the team better right now than last year even with 2 of our top 6 out.

    I believe our top 9 will compete with anyone in the league, even without our 2 top centres. I don’t think we are going to dominate, but we should be in games and should win at 50% or better clip.

    If we can be at 50% when Nuge and Gagner get back we should be in the hunt.

    Our 4th line is a concern. I agree we need toughness, and if people are going to take liberties we need a knuckle dragger to make them pay. If used correctly I think this will give our top guys a little more confidence and a little more space.

    • Spydyr

      “I believe our top 9 will compete with anyone in the league, even without our 2 top centres.”

      Man that must be some sweet kool-aid.

      Without their top two centers every team in the NHL would struggle and that includes the Oilers.

  • Dan 1919

    One legit NHL caliber 3-4 th line center and one transformed legit NHL center to start the season , but stuck with Smyth and Hemsky when him and Yak were on a tare at end of last season . Now Yak has been demoted to third line while aging Smyth and Hemsky go to first ? How does this move inspire optimism once season starts . Gordon covering Horcoff , Smithson and Belanger absence – nonsense . If Tams was doing this ,you’d all be discontented and angry . Cloudy out and time to vent frustrations .

  • Without question it hurts and will cost us some points.

    Smyth-Hall-Hemsky I believe that Hall drives the play well ehough that he will keep his head above water even playing with Smyth and Hemsky.

    Perron-Accrobello-Eberle. Both Perron And Eberle are well rounded players with huge offensive weapons. Accrobello will lose a lot of face offs but if you shelter this line a little I see them getting a lot of points and outscoring the opposition.

    Joenssuu-Gordon-Yakupov. So far Joenssuu has looked like the real deal, Gordon is a very well rounded centre that paired with the skill of Yakupov should be able to put up some points.

    Obviously this lineup isn’t ideal, but missing 2 key players at such an important position hurts anyone. I think we are strong enough to stay 50% until they gt back.

    obviously there is some hope in there.

  • I don’t like putting Smyth and Hemsky with Hall. I think it will bring down his points considerably and probably keep him off of the Team Canada roster.

    That bing said if he can take 2 3/4th line players and turn them into a 1st line that can match power for power without getting their butts kicked it allows us to outscore other teams with our 2nd and 3rd lines.

    I also hate the idea of Yakuov being on the 3rd line. He should be a 1st line RW playing with other elite players. The one benefit being how many teams are deep enough that they can shut down all 3 lines. He may very well benefit from seeing weaker competition.

  • 2004Z06

    Why don’t we all just watch the first ten games before running around screaming “the sky is falling, the sky is falling”. I am sure that Mac T and Eakins have a plan. Putting some guys on waivers freed up some cap space. Once final rosters are solidified, some decent bottom 6’ers will come available.

    • 2004Z06

      …said every Oilers fan the last three years…

      We are missing our top 2 centers, our bottom 6 is straight from OKC, and the only real defenseman we’ve added is Andrew Ference.

      We play 14 of 18 on the road to start the year.

      The sky fell on us and we’re sitting in mile deep crater already.

      If this team makes it to the playoffs, Taylor Hall will have a Hart Trophy on his mantle…

      • While every game is important in the first month the Oilers will play 11 games against Eastern Conferance teams. 3 against Western teams, which are also in their division. Losing to the teams in the east is not as important as losing to a Conferance/ Division rival

        In the second month 6 games are against the East and 6 are against the west, with 2 being Division rival games.

        I don’t see the big deal. In the second month Nuge will be back. And a 1,2 punch of Nuge and Hall sounds good.

      • Ducey

        $575,000 out of $1,500,000 isn’t “most”.

        Its a long season. We are likely to see Jones back with the Oilers once he sorts out his eyesight/conditioning/ skating/ confidence/ attitude/compete/ [insert spectuation here] in the AHL.

    • 1983 and This Year

      Exactly. Can’t we all agree that if we don’t acknowledge every one of their smug asinine diatribes they’ll stop making them? They seem to be genuinely interested in discussing hockey, they just enjoy antagonizing people more. Ignore them and they go away or, if possible, are forced to make an effort to contribute to a healthy Oilers discussion.

      • Spydyr

        I can’t speak for the others , but I challenge a lot of articles that I disagree with in whole or part . I don’t get paid nor have any desire to do so . I do not have to give a slanted bias as many do if they hope to get a job with the Oilers, etc.. Get tired of articles where comments butt kiss the article and all statements become redundant . What makes this site is those other bloggers that challenge articles and others . that makes for a more in depth discussion that others like to follow as well . Why should any of you be offended if your view is challenged ?

        DSF and Quicksilver do an excellent job of making people see the article from just more than one opinion or viewpoint . If this site was just to praise the article writer and all of the same mind coming back from bloggers , then this site would be worthless to read or be a part of .

  • Rob...

    Is Ryan Jones shooting himself in the foot by going silent over being waived? I would have thought it best for him to make it clear he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it back to the big club or make another team.

    Is it legal for an agent to canvass other teams on behalf of his client, trying to promote a waiver wire pickup?

  • 1983 and This Year

    If and when Smyth and Hemsky aren’t working well with Hall. Joensuu and Yak would swap. This is a nice option to have given our perceived lack of depth. Eberle works well with anybody so the Perron/Eberle pair will thrive all year. All the 3/4 lines have to do is keep the pace up, play smart and draw penalties.

    As for defense, Ference and Belov are both upgrades to last year. It all adds up.

    I also see no reason why Dubs .920 save percentage won’t continue.

    Looking forward to an exiting year full of promise.