Chiarelli on Nurse


With his head coach in place, general manager Peter Chiarelli’s attention will now focus on supplying his new head coach with a lineup that can be competitive.

Will Darnell Nurse be part of the 23-man roster?

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It is a great question, and it will ignite a lot of debate.

Nurse is a great skater. He is aggressive. He is strong and extremely competitive. Everyone wants players like him in their lineup. The counter argument suggests he needs experience and there is nothing wrong with honing his skills in the American Hockey League.

Both are valid viewpoints.

What does his GM think?

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Chiarelli had a similar situation with Dougie Hamilton. Hamilton was drafted 9th overall in 2011. He spent the 2011/2012 season in junior and then started the 2012/2013 campaign in the OHL. However, when the lockout ended, Hamilton went to Boston and played in 42 of their 48 games and played in seven of their 22 playoff games.

Nurse has spent two full seasons in junior and didn’t have the option of coming to the NHL after a successful World Juniors tournament like Hamilton did.

I asked Chiarelli about Nurse, his viewpoint on young D-men and to compare Nurse and Hamilton.

“For a defenceman, it is harder to break into the league properly. With Dougie Hamilton he had a good strong core around him, and they are completely different players. Darnell is a defender and a puck transporter. He has a few more nuances to learn as far as defending, but I saw him play at the end of his playoffs and he played well. He has world class speed and strength.

That is a hard one (whether he is NHL ready). I want to be patient with these guys knowing that they are good young players and you’d like to have them help you as soon as you can.”

In the regular season the Bruins had Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuck, Andrew Ference and Adam McQuaid as the other regular five D-men. Hamilton played 17:07/game, the 5th most amongst Bruins defenders.

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He played 626 minutes at ES, 80 on the PP and 11 on the PK. You might assume he was in the third pairing because of his icetime, but he played most of his ES minutes with either Seidenberg (265 min) or Chara (244). He played 82 minutes with Ference.

When he played 5×5 he was paired and protected by the Bruins top-two defenders. Claude Julien protected him as much as he could.

In Edmonton, McLellan does not have a D-man like Chara or Seidenberg to shelter Nurse, and I’m sure that is the dilemma Chiarelli was referring when he said, “this is a hard one.”

No situation is exactly the same. Nurse is a year older than Hamilton was and his chances of being better than the current crop of Oilers blueliners is higher than Hamilton’s was in 2013, but it also means Nurse will not have the luxury of having elite defenders to play with.

I know one of Chiarelli’s main objectives is to improve the blueline, but he told me on Tuesday, “Acquiring those types of players is very difficult. Everyone wants them, but very few teams are willing to part with them.”

Trading for a top-pairing defender will make the Oilers a better team, but it could also allow McLellan and Chiarelli to keep Nurse in Edmonton. It would benefit the Oilers, and Nurse, to safeguard his entrance into the most difficult league in the world.

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The Oilers won’t make a decision on Nurse until the end of training camp. His play will be the ultimate factor in whether he stays or not, but Chiarelli’s moves over the summer will also be a major factor in where Nurse starts the 2015/2016 season.

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  • Randaman

    I think it would be wise for management to hold on to the 16th pick at least until they are about to select the pick. As we saw with Seth Jones some players may unexpectedly fall in the order. What if Timo Meier was still available as an example.

    • Rob...

      Condors are now the farm team. Here’s hoping that one of the sports networks starts carrying some of their games if Nurse and Draisaitl are on the roster. No offense to Hunt, but his success at the AHL level isn’t enough of a draw.

  • Mac07

    Oilers will address the defense. And Nurse needs to be here in the 5-6 roll. to start at least. he can move up as required. Just don’t put him in the 1-2 spot and expect big things. It will all depend if the Oilers get Seabrook or that type of player.

  • TKB2677

    Oilers was about to pick 3rd or 4th (if teams below won the lotto). So if it’s me I would trade 1st pick to Buffalo for their 2nd pick this year (Jack Eichel), Zac Bogosian (our Dman we need), their 2nd round pick this year and next year 1st round pick. Buffalo need a generational player so they must pay yo get him.

    We have Leon (maybe Joe Sakic type player), Jack Eichel (Perry type big and strong) for the future plus RNH.

    We get Bogosian (the Jets missed his toughness this year playoffs, Tyler Meyers was terrible) then trade our 16th pick this year (or Buffalo 1st pick 2016) plus 2nd round pick and Maricin for another good Dman.

    Then sign a good URF goalie or Dman, maybe another big forward.

    This way we have many pieces to fill in without losing the core and other players.

    Jack Eichel is good, we need big strong centers for playoff grinds. McDavid is great but Oshawa played tough and shut him down in the Finals.

    One great player can’t win it all, case in point Sydney Crosby (1 cup only). Gretzky left and he never won another cup but we did with Messier and the core in 1990.

    Sometimes losing the Queen in Chess but with 2-3 Ponds, you can still win the game.

    We need good core and young cheap prospects to move in and out for the future. Salary Cap, we can’t keep all expensive players for long haul.

    Down the road we trade RNH for other good prospects (we have Eichel and Leon).

    WE have Hall (Messier type), Eberle (Glenn Anderson clutch goal scorer), Yakupov (sniper). Klefbom and Nurse to round out the future. Laurent Brossoit is goalie of the future I hope too.

    What do you all think?

    • knee deep in it

      I’m one of the 1% who supported this idea.

      I’d see what else I could get – maybe Reinhardt as well, who knows how desperate they are today.

      Wouldn’t trade for sake of trading. Minimum would be your offer here. So if Tim Murray offers some mediocre prospects and weak ass picks I’d tell hkm yo take a hike

      • Cowbell_Feva

        I don’t mind the idea of getting Jack Eichel instead of McDavid because I think Eichel is one helluva player and will give a run to McDavid as to who is the better player 10 years from now.

        But the return had better be 1000 times better than Zach Bogosian. Chiarelli would be lynched on Jasper Avenue if he made that his first move as GM.

        • HardBoiledOil 1.0

          ^i mind, and it’s not gonna happen! Chiarelli would be lynched on Jasper Avenue if his first move was to trade McDavid. just stop already with the “trade McDavid” stuff!

  • Johnnydapunk

    Nurse needs to go to the farm. He is ahead schedule, but 40-75 AHL games is going to be great for his development.

    Nurse, Hamiltom comparison doesn’t work for me because Klefbom, Marincin and Shultz need some of those easy minutes a 20 year old Nurse needs to develop in the NHL.

    I hope the new management are better managers of ELC, bridge contracts and the use of development leagues.

  • Johnnydapunk

    He is the one prospect I really hope that the Oil take their time with, I don’t think keeping him in Bakersfield for the season to get his head around the pro level would be the way forward.

    He is young, still growing a bit and the AHL would be perfect for him as it also buys the Oil another year to actually put together a decent defence corps.

    He may be a proper Number one D-man in a few years but not right now. He will need a good support group to be that number one, and that will need to be put together by Chiarelli. If they don’t have that we may end up with another Petry situation where he is good, but is exposed until he is on a decent team where he can excel.

    I’m not questioning any of the Chiarelli moves so far, and it seems like the Oil actually are doing things to improve the team, it’s confusing but a good confusing.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    If there is one area that we need to spend our cap on it is on the blue line. Giving it to soft perimeter forwards that have been told since they were 7 years old that they are the best, obviously isn’t working.

    I would trade anybody minus this year’s #1 pick to Nashville for Seth Jones. Make whatever package happen. Hall for Jones straight up all day. If I’m David Poile it would take something monumental to move him.
    Having him and Nurse opposite each other for a decade would really turn this team around. Bash brothers Oil-style. Skill and size and speed. Exactly what this team has missed since Pronger left town.

    I know lots of Oiler fans think most of these skilled forwards are better than they actually are, but every team left in the playoffs have elite defenseman. It’s Edmontons Achilles heel. Would make the goaltending better obviously too.

    Hope Chia can make that blockbuster happen!!

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        Anaheim – Vatanen, Lindholm, Fowler. All young too and still getting better.
        Tampa – Hedman, Strahlman. Nesterov will probably get there in time too.

        • Cowbell_Feva

          I like those young Anaheim D quite a lot, but it’s a stretch to call them elite at this point. Same with Strallman and Nesterov. All good D-men don’t get me wrong, and most better than what we have, but not elite. Hedman yes.

          • knee deep in it

            The way those Anaheim kids are playing in the playoffs, I think they may have graduated to elite status. Hedman is so mobile for such a big man. It’s hard to believe that these guys are 20-24 years old.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    I expect they’re looking to improve.

    I hope any trades they make are either obvious win/win, or we rip off the other team.

    I think the young guys are on the cusp of making that next step. The change in management will improve their attitude. Experienced coach will also help. Then it would be great to get a couple players with NHL winning experience to help out, ala Derek Roy.

  • TKB2677

    Here’s the problem. NSF(Nikitin/Ference/Schultz). None of these players are a benefit to any young d men. Yet they currently compose 30% of the Oiler Blue. Nurse is already better then all 3 so based on merit he’s going to deserve to stay by the end of TC. This cannot happen.

    Chiarelli needs to find a way to lose ay minimum 2 out of the NSF. Keep Schultz if you must and play him 3rd pairing PP specialist. Then via trade/Free agents Chiarelli needs to acquire 2 top 4 d men. For arguments sake we can call them Sekera and Martin.

    Then we run: Sekera/Klefbom, Martin/Fayne, Marincin/Schultz

    Nurse is better then Marincin and Schultz but starting him in Bakersfield is the right move. Injuries “always” happen and Nurse will get his callup during the season.

    I’m hoping something along these lines happen. I actually believe playoffs are a possibility but NSF needs to become just an S. Or just and F. If they retain 2 out of the 3 NSF… There is zero hope for playoffs.

    • MacT's Neglected Helmet

      How is Nurse better than Nikitin, Ference, and Schultz?
      How is he better than Marincin?

      This type of attitude is exactly how we got into this trouble in the first place: “Justin Schultz MUST be better than Jeff Petry!”

  • Cowbell_Feva

    Thank you Oiler AL for pointing out to Clyde, the defenseman that are underrated and also playing prominent roles on Conference finalist teams.

    I would also direct his attention to the NYR and Chicago teams that have multiple studs on the blue line that have been to the conference finals multiple times in the past few years.

    Management change is fantastic. Nobody is happier to see fresh faces in the brass and also behind the bench. However to think that the players are suddenly going to be different players and this (current) roster is going to threaten any of the Western Conference powerhouses is laughable. The change up top has been good, but the roster needs a lot of upgrades, and I don’t mean an 18 kid.

  • TKB2677

    I recently read a piece (can’t remember exactly where) which showed how young many of the Anaheim D are.

    I also look at other clubs and see where one or two young D men are playing regular shifts and doing very well.

    I then read Oiler threads and, almost without exception, fans are stating that Nurse has to play a good portion of next year in the AHL.

    Dammit, if he earns a spot on the Oilers D this TC he should be rewarded with time in the NHL. I understand that the AHL works for many players but each case is different and should be judged on its own merits.

    In short, if he earns it give it to him.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Not a chance the Oilers make the playoffs next year, but its going to be a great year. MacD on board and Hall, Ebs, Nuge, Yak should all have some jump in their step knowing that there is real hope around the corner.

    Klefbomber and Nurse keep developing.

    We’ve waited 9 years, we can wait a few more.

    I think in 3 – 4 years we can take a serious run at McStanley.

    • .

      Playing devil’s advocate . . .

      It’s hard to say “not a chance” when we have evidence of stranger things like the Bruins going from President’s Cup winners to missing the play-offs in a single year, or the Kings going from Stanley Cup winners to missing the play-offs in a single year.

      Going the other way, Tampa finished in 27th spot in 2012-13 and made the play-offs the following year. So, stranger things can happen and have happened.

      If McDavid’s good for 5-7 pts (three games) in the standings, McClellan’s good for 10-12 pts (5-6 games) in the standings, trade(s) or UFA(s) signing(s) to bolster the team D is good for 5-7 pts in the standings, and the continued maturation of RNH, Hall, Eberle and Yakapov is good for 5-7 pts then you’ve got the potential for an uptick of 25-35 pts, which puts them in contention for a play-off spot.

      That’s not to say it’s a guarantee, or even a high probability, only to say that “not a chance” is imprecise for a number of reasonable factors.

      Let’s just say that everything would have to go the Oilers way for that to happen . . . and beyond getting the 16th pick from Pittsburg for Perron, winning the lottery for McDavid, and landing Nicholson, Chiarelli, McLellan–aside from those five things that all came together in about 30 days–we have no evidence to suggest that things are going the Oilers way.

      However, if the next 90 days continues to show that good things continue to happen . . . I’d wager a dollar against a “not a chance” betting line.

  • TKB2677

    Nurse to the farm. Let’s not keep running into the same wall by throwing our young d to the wolves. The AHL will allow Nurse to make a smooth transition. He will have the confidence to improve on his weaknesses and in turn become a better all round player.

    If he jumps into the NHL its sink or swim. A player is not worried about sinking or swimming, rather staying a float.

    Confidence is the biggest factor in sports. Every player has a different learning curve. Darnell doesn’t have the all round game of Doughty, Pieterangelo so send him to the farm for at least a season to get accustomed to the pro game.

    Same for Draisatl. Detroit prospects don’t make the NHL till 23-24. I think they on to something. I.e. Tomas Tatar.