Kris Russell and Darnell Nurse will likely be available to return during upcoming road trip

The Edmonton Oilers will be getting some reinforcements on their blue line soon, as both Darnell Nurse and Kris Russell will “likely” be available on the team’s upcoming road trip, head coach Todd McLellan says.

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The Oilers have are about to hit the road for a crucial six-game road trip that will begin in Chicago on Friday. They’ll play the Blackhawks, Lightning, Panthers, Capitals, Predators, and Blues over a span of 11 days. It’ll be a tough trip, but after that, the Oilers will play at the friendly confines of Rogers Place for 13 of their final 18 games to close out the regular season. 

Russell has been banged up since early February with a groin injury, and hasn’t played since the 2-1 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes on Feb. 3. Nurse was injured back in early December, and has missed roughly 30 games since getting surgery to repair ligament and bone damage in his ankle. 

Nurse was enjoying a strong season before being injured. In a more sheltered role playing on the team’s third pairing, Nurse’s possession numbers have increased from a 45.5 CF% to to 53.1 CF% since last season. Russell, a polarizing player to say the least, has endeared himself to both the coaching staff and the fanbase with his gritty, reliable play, though he has been a black hole offensively. 

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When Nurse returns the Oilers will need to make a corresponding roster transaction. The obvious choice would be Jordan Oesterle, who doesn’t have to clear waivers on his way down to the AHL. Russell, on the other hand, was never paced on the injured reserve and can step into the lineup once he’s ready. 


  • OriginalPouzar

    There will be some tough choices to make as far as who is in the pressbox. I think we’ll have to carry 8D and only 1 extra forward as I’d be remiss to subject Gryba to the waiver wire again at this point,

    Klef/Larsson
    Sekera/Benning
    Nurse/Russell

    Davidson/Gryba

    Does that makes sense? Tough to sit Davidson, but I think, if everyone was healthy tomorrow, that is the lineup.

    • Randaman

      Going to have to use Gryba for a couple on this road trip against the heavier teams. Nashville and St Louis come to mind. Let’s use this depth to avoid being too banged up for the home stretch.

    • btrain

      For the road trip I would like to see:

      Maroon – McD – Eberle
      Lucic – Drai – Sleppy
      Cagulia – RNH – Nurse
      Hendo/pak – Letestu – Kassian

      Klef-Lars
      Sekera – Russell
      Davidson – Benning/Gryba

      However, admittedly its probably too far along in the season for this experiment. I just think this could be a way to ease Nurse back into a playoff push scenario. It gives him far less responsibility while he gets use to in-game pace and timing. The other potential amazing possibility is that he is really effective on the wing and gives us another option come playoffs and maybe saves the teams some assets come trade deadline time.

          • crabman

            Burns was a fantastic winger. A real force. It doesn’t seem to have hurt him at all. And one could argue it encouraged him to grow the offensive part of his game.
            Not saying I would try Nurse on the wing but it is intriguing to consider.

  • Thumby

    Maybe if we have too many D and don’t want to lose one via waiver wire we could “experiment” with the fast skating Nurse or one of the others as a winger…any of them would bring more grit than Ebs!

    (Said completely tongue in cheek…)

  • OriginalPouzar

    I don’t think experimenting with Nurse as a left winger is a good idea down the stretch.

    In fact, when JJ comes off the IR, one of JJ, Hendricks or Pak will need to be re-assigned to the AHL – we already have enough depth for the bottom 6.

    Hmmmmm, I wonder if they waive Pouliot and send him down if unclaimed when JJ comes off the IR?

  • toprightcorner

    Can the Oilers send Nurse down for a conditioning stint? That would help ease his ankle into playing again and that seem to have slowed Davidsons ability to get his game back into form.

  • OriginalPouzar

    Yes, the Oilers could send Nurse down on an official conditioning stint, however, that would mean he is taking up a roster spot in the NHL even while in the AHL.

    With that being said, they could simply send him down to the AHL like normal as he’s not subject to waivers. He’d be making ALOT less money for the time he’s down there though.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Just so I am clear, we have too many NHL capable defenseman, that people are suggesting we “try” one on the wing?

    Just how long have I been in this apparent coma I just came out of?