Darnell Nurse is a big part of the Edmonton Oilers’ future, and should be one of Team Canada’s six defensemen at the World Juniors this Christmas. Nurse received a nice (and significant) honor today when it was announced he would captain TEAM OHL during the Super Series against Russia this week.
Darnell Nurse’s place among Edmonton Oilers prospects is clear: He possesses the complete skill set and projects as a top-pairing NHL player. Miles to go, but his final year in junior is starting well (10 points in 8 games) and the OHL Captaincy for this mini-tournament is a nice arrow, too.
Most Canadians are focused on one thing this day in regard to the World Juniors:
But what about Darnell? Snubbed a year ago, can he make the team this year? How important is this captaincy for the (important) exhibition?
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE WJ SPOT?
Opinions will vary, but for me it’s a nice honor but shouldn’t be considered a massive deal if the young man doesn’t make the team.
Darnell Nurse doesn’t have to be chosen for the roster to prove his worth to the Oilers, he did that leading up to draft day. The WJ spot, and the ensuing tournament, is a lot about hype and hope, and there appears to be a lot of personal preference involved in choosing the team.
Nurse missed out on last year’s roster despite having a fabulous season, and fans should be aware it’s possible the same scenario presents itself again.
So, with that in mind, the captaincy is an important item. Hockey Canada takes this tournament seriously, so naming Nurse suggests they see him as a leader and that’s going to hold sway when it comes to roster debate.
HOW STACKED IS CANADA ON DEFENSE?
VERY. Lordy. In the WHL alone you could make a strong case for each of the men invited to the two-game set just completed. Josh Morrissey, Dillon Heatherington, Joe Hicketts, Madison Bowey, Haydn Fleury, Shea Theodore and Travis Sanheim represent a stunning collection of defensive talent—and that’s just one of the three leagues!
The OHL? Nurse is joined by Ben Harpur, Roland McKeown, Chris Bigras, Matt Spencer and Mitch Vande Sompel.
WILL DARNELL MAKE THE WJ TEAM?
I think he will, but as an Oilers’ fan I’m plenty biased. I can tell you that in following this tournament for the entire century, the fact that Gatineau Olympiques’ Benoit Groulx is the head coach may favor some of the Q kids. Call it politics if you wish, but familiarity with players is a pretty important item in such a short time period.
Also, Nurse’s performance on the ice this week will go a long way to deciding things. The selection group puts enormous importance on these games, so playing well is the biggest item of all.
All that said, I believe Nurse makes the team. Thoughts?