Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Should the Oilers trade Darnell Nurse for scoring help?

Another Monday is here, ruining the practice retirement you waited all week for, and that means it’s time to collectively waste some company time until the next weekend rolls around. With that in mind, the mailbag is here, as always, to help you kill off a few minutes from your day and maybe, just maybe, help you learn a little something while here. If you’d like to join in on next week’s mailbag, I’d like that, you just need to email me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Now sit back, relax, and waste as many work hours as possible. Have a good week, everybody.

Apr 6, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse (25) controls the puck against the San Jose Sharks during the first period at SAP Center at San Jose. The Edmonton Oilers defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

1) Christopher asks – Considering the Oilers are pushing up towards the salary cap do you think there’s any chance they would consider trading Darnell Nurse as a means to find a scoring winger or offensive defenceman or is he untouchable? Nurse is likely to get a raise which will add more pressure on the cap and I’m not convinced he’s as good as some folks around here do.

Robin Brownlee:

Any chance? Sure. There’s always a chance, but I don’t think it’ s likely (or smart). Nurse is already a top-four D-man. He’s tough. He can skate. He competes. If he can bump up the points he produces into the 30’s then he becomes even more valuable. What is it you aren’t convinced about?

Matt Henderson:

No. I’m answering with what I think the Oilers would do. I believe they would trade Klefbom before trading Nurse. It’s not that he’s untouchable, but I think he has all the qualities the team likes. He’s mean, he can skate, he is getting better. Equally important to this question is that I’m not convinced the team values Klefbom as high as they ought to and would move him first.

Christian Pagnani:

No. The Oilers love Nurse way too much. I agree with you and think that could be a worthwhile option to pursue but the Oilers have been all-in on Nurse for so long.

Chris the intern

I think the Oilers will hold onto Nurse a little longer. He’s still a little young in terms of defensive development and they seem to really like him. I wouldn’t consider him untouchable, but I don’t think Chia will be actively shopping him in deals for a winger.


Why you gotta hate on Darryl like that!? Sure, there are times when he looks lost out there but he’s still a young guy that’s learning the ways of the force. I get why you’re suggesting the trade based on contract, but I don’t get it based on play. The Oilers need more NHL defenceman, not fewer, and the farm isn’t ready to spit out any full-timers yet.

2) Stacy asks – I read Jason’s notes from the Peter Chiarelli’s interview where he talked about losing some leadership and experience and wanting to get some of that back. Were you at all surprised by this quote considering he was the one that sent those players away? What do you think changed?

Robin Brownlee:

Not surprised. You need experience, but not many teams have the luxury of keeping players who bring experience but not much more. Vets wear out and wind down and you have to replace them, hopefully with guys who can lead AND play.

Matt Henderson:

I think what changed was his team started losing and instead of doing any real evaluations as to why, he leapt on the lazy narrative about Hendricks. If he acknowledges that fiction instead of reality he buys time from the media and he avoids having to admit the real problems. It’s a dumbass response to what happened last year from a dumbass.

Christian Pagnani:

If by experience he means the glut of scoring wingers traded away, then I agree. If he means Matt Hendricks, then that’s not going to change much.

Chris the intern

It honestly makes my head hurt. This isn’t the first time Chia has said something like this and it makes me completely lose trust in him. You know the type of cheap leadership the team needs? It’s the Matt Hendricks kind.


“We’re gonna go ahead and get rid of all the experienced players on the team.”

One year later…

“Alright, we’re gonna need to go ahead and add some experienced players to the team.”

This guy…

Oct 4, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Ottawa Senators forward Ryan Dzingel (18) tries to screen Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot (33) during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

3) Brandon asks – Should the Oilers try to extend Cam Talbot as soon as they can considering that his down year in 2017-18 could save them a little bit of money? Should they look for a new option entirely?

Robin Brownlee:

Rushing to extend Talbot might be penny wise, but it’s pound foolish, as the old saying goes. I think he can and will bounce back, but let’s see that happen first. If Talbot was in line to put together a third straight year like the one he had two seasons ago, you would be able to say you’ve seen enough, but he’s coming off a sub-par year. Making sure about him is worth the cost of any premium.

Matt Henderson:

On principle, I believe that teams should squeeze every penny from their goaltenders. Wait and see. They should always be looking for new and better options.

Christian Pagnani:

I wouldn’t. He’ll be 32 when his new contract starts and I would have liked to see a younger option brought in to challenge Talbot and perhaps take over in a year or two.

Chris the intern

Nah, I can’t see Talbot needing too much of a raise when the time comes and re-signing him might be a risk we don’t really need right now.


I see what you’re getting at because Talbs had a bad year in 2017-18, but you could end up extending a goalie that may not rebound. It’s a gamble, but I’d wait and see. Besides, He’s getting a little bit older now so you’d have to think the Oilers would be wanting a shorter term extension.

4) Yves asks – The Golden Knights put on a very extravagant pre-game show and I’m wondering what the panel thinks of it? I really enjoy the spectacle and thought it was fun the first time I saw it, but it seems long to do before every single game. What do you guys think?

Robin Brownlee:

Pre-game shows change from year to year. With so many lame game-night presentations around the league should anyone really be concerned a really good one might be too long? I’d rather get too much of a good thing than 30 seconds of some of the crap you get in many rinks.

Matt Henderson:

It can get tedious for us to see before every game but they’re only showing it before every game because it’s the playoffs and it should be a TV spectacle. In person though, I would hardly complain about going to the games and being entertained.

Christian Pagnani:

I love it. Hockey should be fun and taken less seriously.

Chris the intern

Honestly I missed both opening ceremonies in games one and two. From what I’ve heard, they were super cool, but it may be a ‘once you see one, you’ve seen them all’ sort of scenario.


The first time I saw it, I thought “wow this is incredible.” The second time, I was more ‘meh, they do this every night?’ LIke Matt said, I bet it would be fun to see live though. That said, I wish more NHL teams (specifically one blue and orange wearing team) would put some actual thought and effort into their fan experience. You don’t have to go full-Vegas but something other than crowd shots would be nice.

5) Jack asks – What do you guys make of the NBA having the same two teams in the final for what seems like the 10th year in a row?

Robin Brownlee:

I don’t make anything of it because it’s four years in a row. In the last 10 years, counting 2018, nine different teams have made the final — Miami, Golden State and Cleveland lead with four appearances each, followed by LA and San Antonio with two appearances each. In the previous nine years, the NBA has had six different champions with LA, Miami and Golden State winning twice each. In the last nine years, the NHL has had four different Stanley Cup winners — Pittsburgh and Chicago have won three times each, LA twice and Boston once.

Matt Henderson:

Basketball is a different kind of team sport than hockey because one megastar can be the difference in a game every night. LeBron can play 100% of the minutes a night whereas McDavid can only play roughly 33% of the night. I guess what I’m getting at is if the NHL had half the current roster size we’d probably see more stuff like that as the teams with the best star players rise to the top.

Christian Pagnani:

I don’t mind. People overrate the NHL’s parity. It’s been 10 years since a team not named Pittsburgh/Boston/Los Angeles/Chicago won the Stanley Cup.

Chris the intern

As someone who doesn’t really follow basketball, it adds some excitement for me. It almost makes me want to watch it more because I’m a big dynasty-story-lover and love watching the Lebron vs Curry matchup.


I care so little about basketball that I didn’t even know this was true. But to answer the question, what’s the difference between that and the Penguins/Blackhawks/Kings winning all the time? At least in the NBA, there will be some solid Golden State/Cleveland rivalry that should be built up.


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  • percy

    Not sure nurse would be the one to trade, but a def that can QB the PP would help a lot. But I think what is needed most on this team is raising their compete level by about 10 notches.

  • Gravis82

    Why even ask this. Absolutely not.

    Look at washington.
    Ovechkin, Backstrom, Kuznetzov (Oilers: Nuge, McDavid, Drai)
    Orlov, Carlson (Oilers: Nurse, Klefbomb)?
    Wilson, Burakovsky, Vrana (Puljujarvi, Yamamoto, ?)

    Rest of their team is free agents.

    If the Oilers want to be the capitals in 5 years we absolutely cannot trade anyone. Nurse and Klefbomb may turn out to be the 60pt/30pt guys, but you never know. Therefore we need to use this pick in this years draft to draft an offensive D man. Package Puljujarvi or Yamamoto to move up if you have to. This is as high as we are going to be for a long time, need to take advantage of it and draft a scoring D man by any means necessary.

    Puljujarvi and Yamamoto may turn out to be 20 goal guys, but perhaps not. We need 2 or 3 more mid-late 1st round draft picks at forward to cover that bet for sure.

    We have to be realistic here, the oilers are not winning a cup with this roster and especially not by trading one thing they need for something they dont have…creating another problem.

    Draft, wait, and hope for the best.

      • Kneedroptalbot

        I think the Oilers will get a very good player at #10. But if they have their heart set on Wahlstrom for more secondary scoring, it makes sense to trade Yamamoto.

    • “Draft, wait, and hope for the best”
      I agree with that statement 100%. The point of establishing your core guys is to live and die by them. Nurse is going to be a huge part of the backend in the next 5+ years, to trade him for a winger because we can’t wait for either Yamamoto or Puljujarvi to develop for a year or two would be absolutely insane.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    1. DONT YOU DARE TOUCH NURSE! He is part of our core
    2. He narrative changes based on how a season goes. If we weren’t losing, he wouldn’t say that
    3. Talbot will rebound, but we need to manage the cap.
    4. I’m sick and tired of the long pre-games. Just drop the pucking puck and get the game underway
    5. I’m not a huge B-ball fan, but I have a few buddies who aren’t watching the final because of the matchup. They’re sick of it and want variety

    • Glencontrolurstik

      I absolutely agree with your take on pre-game shows…
      I unfortunately see a future of these non-hockey markets like “cheesy” Vegas setting a “cheese-bar” that every other non-hockey market will try to outdo. It frightens me actually, because, hockey, as we know it will be reduced to no more than WWE. It’s happening as I write this unfortunately.
      A mockery is being made of our sport, right before our eyes…
      I think it’s too late now to go back. Teams like Detroit (Hockeytown) and Chicago with their Cassavant Organ & teams like the Jet’s, Canadiens & Leafs with their passionate fan bases don’t seem to be enough anymore?
      I just don’t want the game to become second fiddle to a staged extravaganza that spills forward into an actual hockey game.
      I fear that the NHL that we all love will slowly become a fixed entertainment spectacle. Maybe it’s just me?

  • ubermiguel

    Vegas sure knows how to put on a show, and they play entertaining hockey very well. This franchise might be the kick in the a$$ this league needs to bring back the entertainment.


    Like it or not Chia’s trying to find away out of the mess he has created and Nurse and Klefbom will likely be his only trading chips, if Chia can’t get Nurse to sign for 4M he’s gone. Klefbom would not get a high return right now so it points back to Nurse. Talbot isn’t getting a raise he is trade deadline bait and not comming back as the starter in 2019-2020. Talbot has earned a backup job and quite frankly going into this season without a proven starter is bad GM gambling.

    • oilerjed

      If you are listening to anyone in the hockey universe, the “mess” the Oilers are in is no where near as dire as you think. Nor are Chia’s job prospects.

  • oilerjed

    Um BM its a little bit early in the week to try and have ON headquarters burnt down isn’t it? Admit it, you must have giggled a wee bit when making up this headline.

  • camdog

    One of the weakness on this team for a very long time is having enough right shots in the line up. Last season Strome was 90th in production among right shot skaters in the league. The Oilers didn’t have anybody else in the top 120. FYI 90th on the right side equates to 219th out of all shooters. All of the Oilers right shot players struggled last season.

    Worst part is their are lots of ex Oilers in the top 120 on the right side in the league.


    Please don’t trade nurse or anymore players out , we need to add and develop what we have. I read a good article on Jesse P from the journal and he is very inconsistent which sounds like it’s a confidence issue , hopefully the new coaching staff can push this player to what he can and should be. He had some great games this year where he dominated the play and was close to the best player on the ice, then he would disappear for 10 plus games . We need the coaches to work with him to figure it out, this could be a big addition to our team. Big, fast, hard shot (one timer) and still growing mind you, 2 way forward with decent IQ.

    • Big Nuggets

      I would maybe look to trade Strome for a young winger and sign Filppula for 3rd line center. He’s better defensively than Strome and would be a great mentor/translator for Puljujarvi. Not sure what kind of return Strome would get and to some degree would be a cap dump in order to sign an older player which sounds dumb. But Puljujarvi at this point has better upside than Strome and a center like Filppula would potentially be great for Puljujarvi’s development and make the team more competitive in the meantime. Only if Filppula would sign for 3 milllion of course.

        • Big Nuggets

          I’m sure Strome became buddies with his linemate. I just don’t think he is that great of a centerman. I’d rather get a center that can handle tougher matchups and give the soft matchups to Drai in hopes of secondary scoring. Also I think Filppula would be able to impart far more knowledge to Jesse than Strome could. Strome is still figuring out this league for himself let alone mentoring Puljujarvi.

  • CMG30

    The popular ‘feel good’ narrative around the Oilers fan base is that mediocre players with a reputation for playing hard bring some sort of magical intangible that is impossible to replace and not having it tanks a season. IE. Hendricks gone = 30 point drop in the standings.

    The reality is that under Chirelli this team has repeatedly cashed top talent to plug mid tier and bottom 6 holes in the roster and unnecessarily doled out cap killing, untradeable contracts to past their prime free agents such a defencemen who shines at floping on the ice and blocking shots.

    I like a player with heart as much as the next guy, but I also realize that it takes more than banging and crashing to put pucks in the net.

    • Spydyr

      I’m pretty sure the goalie sucking and no legitimate back-up to spell him off is a big reason for the point drop. Talbot was 47th overall in the NHL in save % and had atrocious stats in every aspect of his game. Letting in the first shot and weak goals over and over again also hurt the team.

      If Talbot and Lucic do not have bounce back years we will be looking at another season over by Halloween.

    • ROILYDoGG$

      Cmg: I agree with you when it comes to overpaying players, however Chia had no choice due to the lack of depth in the organization which he came into when taking the job, he had to sign the best players to fill the holes and I was happy with getting Sekera( top ufa dman) that year , till we had the prospect in our system to replace them. Russel also was signed as a stop gap, however I believe he is a bit over priced but we had lots of cap space when he signed these deals and Chia was anticipating a hike in the cap around the time of the Russel deal to open up and loose the NMC so contract wise I think this was a smart signing. Hopefully this season sekera and Russel are healthy and can be steady dmen while the young kids take another step forward. Bear develops in the Farm for one more year . As for other veteran players they bring more to the table then just points, fore checking, defensive play and Chipping in a few goals when possible makes a difference but yes having one vet like Neal would be great… if he was a few years younger because I wouldn’t risk his age now and the cost he would ask. When I played I was not always sniping pucks into the net but getting shots on the goalie causing rebounds, setting up passes for zone possession, back checking and getting pucks out of our zone didn’t always look pretty but it kept the puck out of our net . Some of these factors you don’t see on stats boards.

      • Big Nuggets

        We would have had better depth if Chia would have kept Oesterle and Pitlick around. Not to mention the lost opportunity in the return for Eberle, and the Pouliot buy-out.

  • TKB2677

    I wouldn’t trade Nurse. He probably doesn’t have enough offense in him to be considered a top pair guy but I think he can be a big, nasty, skate like the wind, good defending, OK puck moving, some offense #3 dman. Which is pretty darn good. That being said, the only players I think on the Oilers that should be considered off limits trade wise is McDavid. So if some team throws a ridiculous package at you, i.e a top 4, right shot, puck moving, offensive dman, who’s not that old and has a contract, then hell yeah, I would trade him. As an example, if St. Louis came to the Oilers and offered Parayko, then you have to do the deal. It won’t happen but it would take a lot in my books to move Nurse.

  • crabman

    1) Everyone is expendable but an offer for Nurse would need to knock Chiarelli’s socks off. I think he is as close to an untouchable as anyone not named McDavid.
    I’ve been saying for months that if a big move is made involving a defenceman it will be Klefbom being sent away.(not that I want that)

    2) I think Chiarelli is right and without saying the words, “I messed up”, he is admitting as much. I don’t think this is the biggest problem at all but when a team has consistency issues quite often a lack of strong veterans plays a part. I don’t see Chiarelli going out and filling the roster with older vets but with Sekera back healthy and a bottom 6 veteran who can be an everyday player and help the pk that should help the leadership on the ice and in the dressing room.

    3) I believe Talbot will bounce back and they should open up discussions with his agent to feel out what he thinks he is worth. But no way would I make a deal until I know for sure and get a chance to see what we have in Koskinen. Maybe he surprises me, steals the starter job and plays like a top10 goalie. might be unlikely but he is a wild card at this point. plus even if Talbot bounces back he won’t be getting a big raise on his current salary.

    4) Vagas is making the in game experience a spectacle. It adds value to going to a game and I think the rest of the league could learn something. The fact that they are putting on such a show during the cup finals on national television can only help attract new fans to the league.

    5) I watch sports to be entertained. The best 2 teams, with some of the games biggest stars are playing each other in the finals. If anything the growing rivalry adds another level of excitement to the series.

    • LAKID

      #1 what about an offer sheet?
      #2 Chia’s last season?
      #3 Talbot is a prove backup
      #4 An expansion team in the finals, why does Chia and the Redwine club still have jobs ?
      #5 Everyone loves watching the Oilers pound on Glass and the flames.
      Has glass come out of his coma yet?

      • crabman


        1) should be signed before July 1
        2) could be
        3) agree to disagree.Talbot will bounce back and be at least a league average starter
        4) doesn’t matter who is in the finals. I would have fired him based on last years results alone.
        5) what does that have to do with basketball?

  • Oiler Al

    Trying to decide which is the worst….. Knights pregame or coaches corner.
    Coaches corner is embarrasing to Canadian hockey. Incoherent babble by the senile coot ,thinking the 1970’s Bruins are relevant.

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      No sir. Hockey in Canada is about tradition and respect. Don Cherry keeps Canada honest.

      Unles you dig Strombo in skinny jeans better than Ron and Don?

      Get off the lawn, bruh.

  • btrain

    Even if the parity in the NHL is not what we like to think it is, the best NHL players are nothing without a great team and a great team quite often trumps the best hockey players in the world. This is not the case in the NBA where it seems the tendency towards tallness, perhaps at the expense of athleticism, allows super athletes James and Curry to navigate amongst seas of slow moving giants. I have always wondered what the NBA would look like if talent and athleticism were not restricted by height preference. How many more naturally gifted athletes would seriously pursue the sport if it were more inclusive at the professional level? Maybe Curry’s success, and Nash’s before him, will influence more tiny 6’3″ athletes to pursue basketball and my hope of a more diverse and considerably more athletic, high paced, NBA will come true. But then again, my knowledge of basketball is very limited and I probably have no idea what I am talking about.

    • crabman


      Your point about lesser than athletes making it as professional basketball players based on tallness(aka size) is a valid one. But it could be said about hockey, and football, and probably every other sport as well. It is definitely more prolific in basketball considering the goal is 10 feet off the ground and jumping is a much bigger part of the game but how many smaller athletes do you think have been passed over in other sports simply because they were considered under sized?

      • btrain

        Of course most professional sports, including hockey, do have some size requirements that are likely to be restricting to many. However, like you confirm, the NBA is on another level when it comes to this. The other angle to my original argument is with regard to what point height interferes with athletic ability? The NHL is a 6’1″ average league. There are but a few NBA sized anomalies such as Chara who are agile enough to play hockey. In fact there are currently only 14 players (excl goalies) who are 6’4″ or taller in the entire NHL & only 3 of them clear 6’6″. I believe this has a lot to do with how much athleticism is impacted by height.

        So again, what would the NBA look like if it were predominately made up of players who aren’t giving up a lot in terms of athletic ability?

        • crabman


          absolutely agree. The NBA would be even faster than it is now but when being tall causes such an advantage teams are more than happy to employ a 7+ foot player with almost no athletic ability if he can rebound and block a shot. But even then the best players are almost never that big. The best players are still the most athletic players.
          My point comparing the NBA to the NHL was less about how extraordinarily big players have an advantage but that well bellow average height players have always gotten a raw deal because they were deemed too small. No matter what their athletic ability many were never actually given a real shot.

  • as things stand, let’s see if Yawney get get something out of this defense group. I go to hockey games to watch hockey games, not laser light shows. The only time I watch basketball is when i want to see how hard life is for young African American men. Chiarelli let Hendricks go because the Oilers don’t really need cap space taken up by a someone who was essentially a cheerleading assistant coach.

  • Nurse is over-rated, an makes the same mistakes over and over again, so don’t expect a lot in return. Given the state of the Oilers defense they would better off trading a forward for a good d-man, and signing an older d-man to help mentor Nurse and reduce his time on the ice in crucial situations.