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.

        • Stack Pad Save

          Comparables are used to compare possible points in the NHL based on junior careers. This doesn’t tell us how good of a defensive player Nurse will be, nor does it tell how physical or smart or good he will be in the NHL. Plus using analytics like this for defensive players is known to be a stretch for predicting how good they will actually be.

      • Stack Pad Save

        Okay, The McIlrath comparison was probably harsh, bit this is a dumb pick. We drafted for current need by taking a player 3-4 years away. There is zero chance that edmonton lets its defence be so inept for another three years(at least I jope to god they do). Schultz is a number two, potentially number one once his defence rounds out. Petry is your number three. Smid is a second pairing d as well, but is probably better suited as a shutdown d.Therefore your need is a first pairing defender. Nurse’s cielling is second pairing according to most scouts. So that puts nurse on the third pairing when he gets her, assuming there is still a spot after klefbom, marincin, gernat, simpson, musil, ect get a shot. If we needed a defensive PROSPECT, we needed a first pairing puck mover. Enter Ristolainen. The Finn is mobile, puts up points, and would fit nicely into a first pairing role.

        Secondly, Edmonton needs a big skill forwardor skilled two way center, an equally valuable asset, preferably one who could step in tomorrow. If you fear nichushkin’s attitude problems, you ought to trade down and select Horvat, or similar and pick up another asset.

        Most importantly first round dmen are almost a crapshoot. To gamble on a player with such a low ceilling is stupid. Its like betting on the 50-1 horse vs the 80-1 horse. If your going to make a bad bet, you moght as well swing for the fences. Nurse is second pairing at best, so in all liklihood he is a third pairing by the time you take out the exaggerations of the draft. Plus he is a project, and is set to debut after edmonton is inside the playoff window. In three years, the oilers need players who can deliver value high in the batting order to alleviate cap pressure. Replacing a third pairing defence with Nurse will save you $0. Having ristolainem play as a 2-4 dman could save you a significant amount.

        Where do you play Nurse? My guess is bottom pairing. Also remember we a big game hunting for top four.
        Schultz Klefbom
        Petry Marincin
        Smid Musil

        • StHenriOilBomb

          Drafting in the 7th spot to fill needs for the next 2 years is foolish, and will likely lead to choosing players based on their readiness instead of their overall potential.

          If you believe Ristolainem has more potential, then I can;t argue with you. I don’t know enough about these guys.

          If you’re arguing for Risto’s style being more needed/effective/valuable, I don’t agree. Nurse’s complete game leaves little room for gaps or inconsistencies.

          Where do I play Nurse? In the CHL for now, the AHL next year, and finally in to the NHL slowly the year after that. If The Oilers’ defence is bad enough to allow ANY of these kids in to the top 4 this year then it’s unlikely they are making the playoffs.

          The long term health of this organization will only be strong when prospects are brought up with minor league experience.

    • Bonvie

      Disappointment ,we should have got something from Buffalo for leaving Risto available . No wonder we are still in the basement . MacT. as bad as Tams for dealing , but at least Tams was quiet about it .

      • Bonvie

        You two don’t have a clue what your talking about the Oilers picked the best player available there only option would have been to trade up or down, but they got a great character defense who will worst case scenario be a journeyman character dman like Smid. This guys upside is at the Weber Pronger level. All of the Oilers Dman prospects are more in the offensive mold we need a big shutdown Dman in our system, now we have it.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          Can’t always account for Oilers questionable moves , but Risto will certainly turn out better , just you watch and see . Have to question why they did not go with skill as apparently they said ? If they thought he was most skilled left then one should question them all and entire scouting group . Apparantly Gillis wanted our first , second and prospect for Schneider , yet they took a later first only basically for Schneider . Figure that out . Still should have got something off Buffalo for leaving Risto available .Off the board pick as far as i’m concerned . MacT.appears to be another weak dealer so far .

          • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

            Nurse is rated higher than Risto on just about every list out there, but I am now worried because you obviously are a far better judge of talent… Have you even seen either play? I say nooooooooo. Stick to your ridiculous trade proposals at least they make me laugh.

          • nuge2drai

            Nurse was exactly what the Oilers needed. By all accounts, this guy’s compete level is off the charts. The last thing the Oilers need is a talented player with no heart, no desire, and no work ethic.

            Talent – desire = waste of talent

            Nurse is a great skater, punishes opponents with great hitting, scored more points than Risto did last year, and played against other team’s top lines last year. Three years to wait? I would be surprised if he spends more than half a season in the AHL and is not a starting regular by January 2014. MacT came within a game of coaching a Stanley cup winning team, largely due to having a dominant punishing D-man in Pronger and knows exactly how important this kind of player is. There is a good chance that Nurse will be that type of player. Great pick!

          • BArmstrong

            From TheAHL.com:

            What is the minimum age for an AHL player?
            Per AHL By-Laws, the age limit for eligibility to compete in the American Hockey League is 18 years or over, on or before September 15 of each season of competition.

            According to Wikipedia, Nurse was born February 4, 1995 and is 18 years old.

          • BArmstrong

            Theres.a rule where MJ players have to be 18. Protects CHL from loosing players. Euros can cone over and play at 18 if their not signed to CHL.

            Yak could not play in AHL cause his rights were held by Sarnia.

          • PChan121

            They wanted him to go with last years highly touted Finn Armia on their site and elsewhere , and many were touting Risto to Philly as well . We should have gotten something for laying off Risto as far as i’m concerned . No I am not high on Nurse as a 7th pick in this draft . He is what he is and still has a weak shot which doesn’t bode well for offence . One person said he had booming shot – he must have meant he had to many shots to drink . This might rank up there with the Doan scenario .

    • toprightcorner

      Ristolainen is awesome but among many scouts, he is the most likely to not reach his potential. Nukushkin is a beast but the Oil would have to have him on the roster or he stays with the KHL and potentially never comes back, no way MacT will risk his first ever draft pick as GM to not come to the NHL. Wouldn’t surprise me if Nukuskin falls to 10th.

      Edmonton needs to spread out a few guys, cant have a high end player come off entry level deal 4 or 5 years in a row or they will run out of cap space by the time they are competitive.

    • Rob...

      I’m more worried that the Oilers will Matt Green him. Darnell is going to rack of the penalty minutes early on because the dumb zebras won’t accept a ‘hockey play’ from a young player. Oilers should have rode the storm and kept Green, and I hope they learnt their lesson.