Nurse to start in AHL?

Todd McLellan didn’t announce any cuts, but he did separate the Oilers into two groups this morning. Group A consists of players who are challenging for a spot on the Oilers roster, while Group B has players who seem destined for Bakersfield or Norfolk (ECHL).

Darnell Nurse is currently in Group B.

“You will see a division in camp,” explained McLellan last night.

“It will be somewhat obvious where we are going with the players, but there will be some players moving back and forth. We will share meetings, talk about our identity and how we want to play in situations. It gives us the ability to match our NHL team and minor league team.

“The warning that goes out to players is, congratulations you are in one group, but there is another group over here that are licking their lips to take your job. We have already made some changes between the groups based on tonight’s game. We will continue to do that, but this gives us a chance to work with fewer players and get our game quicker,” continued McLellan.

GM Peter Chiarelli has hinted for the past few weeks that Nurse needs to keep developing, and based on today’s groups there is a good chance Nurse will start the season in the AHL. This isn’t a major surprise, but it illustrates they want to be patient with him and allow his game to mature and develop outside the NHL.

Group A



Talbot, Scrivens and Nilsson

It doesn’t mean Nurse still can’t play his way onto the team in the next few games, but he’d have to jump over two D-men to do it. He won’t start the season in the pressbox. He will either be in their top-six or in the AHL. It does him no good to watch games. He needs to play, and based on what Chiarelli told a group of us in Penticton, and today’s groups, I’d say Nurse is destined to start the season in the AHL.

“There’s a lot of nuances to a
defensive game that he has to smooth out. The enthusiasm is there and
there’s a lot of good parts, but the puck retrievals and when to funnel
off passes and such has to get better. It’ll come. He’ll skate into a
funnel (groups of players) a bit, but those things will come from coaching.
He’s exuberant and a real coachable kid,” said Chiarelli in Pentiction.

They want him to refine his game, and it is much easier to do so in the AHL. I’m a huge fan of Nurse, and I expect he will be a mainstay on the blueline for years to come, but most likely it will not occur on October 8th in St.Louis. I suspect we will see Nurse with Group A at some point in the near future, but the fact he wasn’t there today shows me which way the organization is leaning for now.

Nurse became even more of a fan favourite due to his spirited scrap in Calgary last night. He skates well, is intense, tough and as he continues to mature I expect he will be a force on the Oilers blueline in the future.

Other notables…

It is interesting to note that Nikitin has now dropped to the fourth pair. When I asked McLellan about his play last night he said.

“We keep giving him every opportunity to have success. I thought his game matched ours, it got better as the night went on. He took one to the chops early, he got whacked pretty good, but after that he was an effective player for us. I have to watch the tape tomorrow and look for the fine points. We have to believe that he can come in and play well for us. He needs to feel that from us as coaches, we have to help. He will continue to provide us with the evidence that it is working or not. I believe it can.”

McLellan is a strong believer in confidence. The players need it to play well, and when he has been asked about players who struggled last season, he always refers to the coaches showing the player they believe in him.

I interpret that as McLellan saying he will give the player the opportunity to prove he can play, but if he can’t it is on the player. No one will be able to blame the coach for “not believing in them.” Smart move.

Teddy Purcell did not skate today, but he will be in the mix when he returns. He didn’t finish last night’s game and he has a minor injury. He is day-to-day. It isn’t serious or Chiarelli would have addressed it. The new Oilers policy is they won’t discuss minor bumps and bruises, but if a major injury occurs the GM will discuss it.

Recently by Jason Gregor:        

  • M22

    It is embarrassing the knowledge on this site.

    THE most trite term in hockey history. Defend the net. There are 3 level of shots.

    Low chance shots – point to above circles. Save% is .9750 for these shots. By volume and Save% 16% of even goal come from these shots.

    Med chance shots – slot and upper circles. Save% is .9250 for these shots. By volume and save% 32% of even goals are from these shots.

    High chance shots – Box area.Save% is ,8330 for these shots. By volume and Save% 52% of even goals are from this area.

    you want D that defend the box and SLOT. Edmonton was the 5th worst at defending HCSA. CGY was the 7th worst. Toronto was the worst and had 3 d in the 15 worst of 240 d Gardiner and 2 of them the worst in the game. Reilly and Phanuef.

    But coaching is critical to running a Good slot and box protection D. We have not had individual top 30 D results since MacT was Fired. Our best 1st comp D results in the 6 years are from nikitin this year. But the worst high chance shot save% .8100 hid any def improvement.

    We have D that have been elite HCSA d under good box protection coaches.

    Fayne 1st comp #1 HSCA d in game 10.05 in NJ Lemeiux/Deboer

    Sekera 2nd comp 12.05 HSCA/60 in BUF/LAK Ruff/Sutter

    Nikitin 2nd comp 12.45 HSCA/60 in CBJ Richards

    Gryba 2nd/3rd comp 13.99 HSCA/60

    Now we have one of the coaches with a repetitive history of developing and getting strong Slot and box protection results from young D. Tmac.

    Clearly Eakins was terrible choice for Coach and Nelson was the perfect choice to turn the team around and Salvage careers. But to finally get a MacT type box protection coach is what is needed.

    But No eakins; No Mcdavid!

    You want Goalies that are consistently above average in Med and high chance shot save%. W had the worst in the league. .8100
    Calgary had hiller at .8531.

    Goalies with .8600+ Save% last 2 years. One Talbot .8687; .8617

    Goalies with .8500+ save % last 2 years. None

    Goalies with .8400+ save% last 2 years. three Price; Crawford; Halak

    Goalies with .8330+ save% last 2 seasons. Five Hiller; Varlamov; Holtby; Bernier; Reimer.

    2 of the 9 best High quality shot goalies in the game made TOR look a lot better until they bailed on their offence.

    MacT went after 2 of the best D at protecting the box. then tried to get the goalie with the best Save% for the areas that give up 84% of even goals.

    PC went after the best HSCA D on the UFA market. and signed a Goalie that tended series of .8600+ HCS savE games. Nilsson.

    But to not credit them for the players they acquired is short sighted and foolish.

    My wife is an editor MSM. Quebecor English chain before it was sold. They were told in journalism school to write to a grade 5level thinking audience.

    After reading some of the people questioning the my IQ. Grade 5 is setting the bar high for them!

  • Joy S. Lee

    i can just see you thinking.

    “These are the facts but it does not fit what silly stuff I have written.
    So I am mad and will give no fact based response. I will throw out a questioning of IQ. Cause I have no real response.”

    Nice one buddy!

    The grade 5ers, “who are these guys.”

    I gave you the facts. Tambo and MacT got us all our top 6 forwards and 4 of our bottom 6 fwds. 3 of our top 4 D. and our top 2 Goalies.

    It is ok to realize that there are zero players from EIG years.

    PC walked into a sweet heart deal!

  • Joy S. Lee

    What is more embarrassing is the ton of credit Trellising gets for the flames.

    Sutter players: (7) Giordano; Brodie; Bouma; Backlund; Stajan; Ferlund; Ortio

    Feaster Players: (12) Hudler; Gaudreau; Monohan; Wideman; Russel; Jones; Coulburne; Jooris; Byron; Granlund; Smid; Ramo.

    Treiliving players: (6) Hamilton; Hiller; Bollig; Engelland; Raymond; Bennett

  • mcjesus take the wheel

    Since the lockout: 05-06

    Oilers 3 series wins and 1 conf title (Mact).

    Flames 1 series win.

    You are Bat ……… crazy if you think 1 series win is better than 3 and a conference title.

    The people who think that you get a Cup winning team in 5 years with limited prospect base are a little skewed in their view.

    We have zero assets from before 2008.

    Up till this year. Chicago had players acquired from assets dating back to 1998. Keith 2002; Sea brook was drafted in 2003; Bickell 2004; Sharp (2005) for a player drafed in 1998; Hjarlmasson (2005); Toews draft 2006; Kane 2007; Hossa 2009. 9 years to build a core that won 3 cups.

    08-09; 09-10; 10-11; 11-12; 12-13; 13-14; 14-15; 15-16 is year 8.

  • mcjesus take the wheel

    Interesting the difference in philosophy between TM and Eakins re getting his opening night lineup playing together. Certainly last year the evaluation process seemed to continue into the first few games of the season.