All any prospect can do is push the big club to give him the call. Darnell Nurse didn’t get a long look in training camp—Peter Chiarelli’s Oilers don’t believe in Hail Mary’s, only players who can dislay a range of skills and discipline—and may be in Bakersfield for a time.
Early returns? Excellent.
- David Staples, Cult of Hockey: While the rest of the Bakersfield d-men, save for big, steady David Musil, got eaten alive this game, Nurse did not. Another strong game where he used his size and speed to good advantage. Source
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey: Then there’s the ridiculous athletic prowess that manifested itself in at least two dazzling spinaramas, one a somewhat dangerous but perfectly-executed 360 coming out of his own end, the other a thrust into the low shot after a fine Draisaitl feed that ended with a spinning backhand that seriously tested McCollum. He didn’t look like a man who intends to stay in the AHL for long, even as games like tonight’s will do him a world of good. Source
The issue for Nurse is that he’s not NHL-ready in the area of decision-making. On a team that is trying to cut down on mistakes—two of them last night ended up in the back of the Oilers net—I’m fine with the idea of waiting for Nurse to arrive.
How long? Well, Todd McLellan probably wants to see his chosen eight for at least a game and one of the group (aside from Andrew Ference, who has a no-move) will have to falter. I’m going to guess that happens, no disrespect to the current Edmonton defensive crew.
The other shoe to drop? Nurse has to play a reliable game for (I’d say) 20 games in the AHL. As cool as the Savardian spineramas must have seemed, that’s probably what’s getting him in trouble with the large foreheads.