RE 16-17 DARNELL NURSE: RECKONER

On the day the Edmonton Oilers drafted Darnell Nurse, the club was looking for a franchise cornerstone. Nurse’s enormous physical gifts, combined with aggression and a shutdown mentality, were very attractive to a team lacking top flight prospects. Four years later, Nurse has delivered in most areas, but some of the elements promised are not yet on display. At some point, we’re going to have to have a discussion about outer markers and Nurse’s slotting on a successful NHL depth chart. That may mean a reckoning. (Reckoner)

DARNELL NURSE 2016-17

  • 5×5 points per 60: 0.81 (3rd among regular defensemen)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 0.00 (zero points in 4 minutes)
  • Corsi for 5×5 %: 51.0
  • Corsi Rel 5×5 %: 0.8
  • DFF Elite 5×5 %: 47.4
  • DFF Elite Rel 5×5 %: -0.7 (24 percent of TOI v. elites)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 85 shots/5.9%
  • Boxcars: 44gp, 5-6-11
  • (All numbers via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com and hockey-reference)
  • Special thanks to GMoney and Woodguy for sharing the DFF’s

REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS

  • RE 16-17: 66gp, 3-11-14 0.212
  • Actual 16-17: 44gp, 5-6-11 0.250
  1. I don’t like the sound of that opening statement. Darnell Nurse is going to be an NHL player for a long time. He’s likely to play substantial minutes at evens and on the penalty kill. As he gains experience, his natural talents will become even more prominent and useful. I don’t see a lot of downside here. One area I am comfortable suggesting: It is difficult to project him as a top pairing, impact defenseman at this time. That may change, but we are now four years past his draft day.
  2. You’re hedging your bets! As each season progresses, more of the photo comes into view. Nurse’s numbers this season, above, tell a story. He’s a third pairing defender who did well in possession. His Woodmonies are okay, although he played far less against the elites than the top pairing and Matt Benning.
  3. He’s behind Benning!?!?!? Matt Benning enjoyed a fantastic season, there’s no doubt he had a superior year to Nurse (who was hurt for much of the year). Benning is less proven than Nurse (even), so we have to be careful about making sweeping statements.
  4. I don’t think Todd McLellan feels that way. Benning played against elites 31 percent of the time, Nurse 24 percent. That’s a reasonable gap. McLellan sent Benning down, but once back the coach saw what he had and went to the whip.
  5. What is the difference per game? Benning played 62 games and 285:26 in total icetime against elites, that’s about 4.5 minutes per game at 5×5 against the league’s top opponents.
  6. And Nurse? He played 44 games and 157:52 minutes against the cocks of the walk, that’s about 3.5 minutes.
  7. Big deal. Well it is really, and Benning performed very well in those minutes (his RE is here). Benning was over 50 percent in Dangerous Fenwick against elites. We don’t know if that’s going to continue but at this point Benning’s resume is more impressive in this area.
  8. So that’s it, then! You hate Nurse and it’s third pair forever! No. Nurse is through four years after draft and has made the NHL as a regular. In 2015-16, he was unable to play a feature role successfully. This year, especially early, Nurse showed he could be a productive third pairing defenseman. That doesn’t mean he’ll stall there, experience may allow him to become a productive top 4D. We aren’t there yet.
  9. Why have you turned on him? I haven’t, we are closer to the end of development though and at some point he will be what he is at a specific age. I think we can project him onto an NHL roster for a long time, where he’ll fit is to be determined. He gained a lot of experience last year, including some difficult playoff lessons. That may have a positive impact.
  10. What are good things about him offensively? His offense at 5×5 was solid to good, that was something we were worried about in year one. Nurse isn’t going to be a strong power play guy, but should be able to post some crooked numbers with his ability to rush and pass the puck. He also has a very good shot that can beat goalies clean.
  11. Will he become a power-play option? I don’t think that’s in his future but you never know.
  12. Most memorable goal? Outdoor game against Winnipeg, he came out of the penalty box and went shelf on the back half of a two-on-one with Connor McDavid. It was a very nice moment.
  13. Will he get the Klefbom contract? No. I don’t think Nurse has shown the range of skills to be included in that conversation. We’ll see, but my guess is that his second contract is well shy of Oscar’s.
  14. How much more does Klefbom play? Klefbom averaged 22:22 this season, including over 18 minutes at 5×5, 1:40 PK and 2:31 power play. That’s a pretty complete player.
  15. What about Nurse? He averaged 17:01 a game in 2016-17, 15:43 at 5×5 and 1:11 shorthanded. His ice time is likely to increase as he moves along.
  16. Nurse’s second season was better than Klefbom’s! At age 21, Oscar averaged 22 minutes a night and was around 50 percent in possession. I don’t think we can compare the two realistically, but let’s see how it turns out. Pretty sure this will remain true as we move forward.
  17. Who did Nurse play well with? Eric Gryba (288 minutes, 52 percent Corsi for 5×5), Matt Benning (246 minutes, 50.1 percent).
  18. What was the McDavid gap? He was 58.4 percent Corsi for 5×5 with 97 in 192 minutes. Nurse was 48.1 percent in 478 minutes without him. All Corsi info is here.
  19. Who are his comparables? Nick Schultz, Jeff Schultz, Luca Sbisa. Important to note these are offensive comparables, but it is interesting to note most in the group are similar in style and deployment to Nurse. List is here.
  20. What does he need to work on? Read and react, watching for the late breaking pass/trailer, the usual stuff. He made a famous defensive play in the playoffs when pushing an Anaheim Ducks forward into the crease. The Duck lingered forever, but the fact Nurse placed him there was problematic to say the least.
  21. Who should he play with next season? Matt Benning! That was a very nice combination and gave Todd McLellan more options.
  22. Why this song? The title works for Nurse, he is the Reckoner and can absolutely hammer people. I think his physical style and rambunctious approach give the Oilers a different look when he’s out there. I also believe the club missed him when Nurse was injured, and that’s a positive thing. We’ll see how this turns out but I was encouraged by his season and suspect we can safely say he’ll make it as an NHL player. How far he makes it up the depth chart is the next question. Everyone faces the reckoner, and on that day finds his outer limits. We are not yet there with Darnell Nurse, but the picture is coming into view.

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48 Responses to "RE 16-17 DARNELL NURSE: RECKONER"

  1. fifthcartel says:

    I kind of cringe when I hear Nurse talked about as part of the core. He’s an interesting player and I’m curious to see what he ends up as, but Klefbom is far ahead and was at the same age and I remain unconvinced he’s trending towards a top-four defenseman.

    I just remember reading Subban rumours last summer and remember seeing “either Klefbom or Nurse,” like they were valued similarly.

  2. Diablo says:

    On one hand its way to early to say with certainty what Nurse will become – on the other hand, he seems to be one of those D-men with all of the tools but no toolbox.

    Given how the game has changed, you’re probably right LT, that he will never be more than a second pairing D-man. He’s looking more and more like he’s going to be a Jason Smith-type D (obvious a better skater though).

    After Ebs gets traded, he might end up being the next whipping boy if his D-zone coverage doesn’t improve by a lot. With that in mind, his stock is probably never going to be higher than it is this summer – his gritensity level is pretty off the charts, and his stock price remains high because of the injury.

    Although looking at a comparable like Karl Alzner – Darnell should remain pretty cheap for the next 7 years – that’s valuable in and of itself, given how top heavy the salary structure is going to be at forward.

  3. theDjdj says:

    The issue with Nurse is he’s such a brilliant brilliant brilliant skater he’s been skating himself out of trouble his entire hockey life. Read the play wrong? No worry I’ll close the gap before the shot is off. Jumped into the play at the wrong time? I’ll catch him before he hits our blue line. Lost control in the Dzone? I’ll just skate the puck out of trouble.

    Problem is this doesn’t work successfully at the NHL level. So he has to re-gear a significant part of his game, cut down on his natural tendencies. That is a tremendous effort that will take time.

    The most promising thing is that Nurse can play on third pairing for at least another 80 games. Nothing is more ruinous in hockey than playing a Defensive prospect ahead of his development. I’m confident on which way the arrow is pointed, he played smarter last year than 2015-16.

    If Nurse works on positioning, reading (both offensively and defensively) and his shot his top end is Brett Burns.

  4. Diablo says:

    theDjdj:
    The issue with Nurse is he’s such a brilliant brilliant brilliant skater he’s been skating himself out of trouble his entire hockey life. Read the play wrong? No worry I’ll close the gap before the shot is off. Jumped into the play at the wrong time? I’ll catch him before he hits our blue line. Lost control in the Dzone? I’ll just skate the puck out of trouble.

    Problem is this doesn’t work successfully at the NHL level. So he has to re-gear a significant part of his game, cut down on his natural tendencies. That is a tremendous effort that will take time.

    The most promising thing is that Nurse can play on third pairing for at least another 80 games. Nothing is more ruinous in hockey than playing a Defensive prospect ahead of his development. I’m confident on which way the arrow is pointed, he played smarter last year than 2015-16.

    If Nurse works on positioning, reading (both offensively and defensively) and his shot his top end is Brett Burns.

    Burns is an interesting comparison as well – he took a number of years to arrive, then wore out his welcome in Minnesota, then exploded in his late 20’s-early 30’s.

    I think the only reason you trade Nurse, is if Doughty (or that calibre D-man) becomes available.

  5. theDjdj says:

    Rumours of Galchenyuk being available. The ask is a top 6 Centre. RNH and Fayne/Pouliot for Galchenyuk and Gallagher?

    Edit: I checked Galchenyuk’s stats and they’re more impressive than I realised. Is it ridiculous to suggest Eberle and RNH for Galchenyuk and Gallagher? We replace Eberle with a volume shoot who’s slightly cheaper and better suited to Chiahockey. Win back salary with Galchenyuk. I wouldn’t trade Nuge, what do y’all think?

  6. Richard S.S. says:

    Peter Chiarelli needs a Right Shot D this season. preferably under contract for at least 3 years and 27 or under years of age. Someone that could play up if necessary. Between now and the Awards Thingy is the ideal time to do it. I don’t care how he does it, or whether he must protect 8-1 and not 7-3-1, prices are at their best just before the roster freeze. Trade who and whatever he needs to get the job done.

    In addition, Peter Chiarelli needs a Left Shot D to fill in for Sekera who might miss more time that is expected. This D needs to be comfortable playing with Benning and Nurse. yet play 2nd Pairing if necessary. If it needs be Russell so be it, if someone else that’s fine too.

  7. Glass says:

    Both players are under 200 games played, Nurse with only 115gp to Klefbom’s 189. Neither are finished products. I still think Nurse has it in him to be a #3 guy, just give him time and experience to get there.

    Honestly I expect things to really stagnate this coming season, especially with the Sekera injury. Compounded by the fact that we are either losing Eberle’s production or going into the season with a less than stellar D core. I definitely see us as a playoff team, fighting for home ice advantage.

    Not to say that this is a bad thing, but I think it’s a growth year. Things will really fall into place the season following this one is what I’m suggesting.

    Caggiula & Slepyshev are well under 100 games played, and I project them to be regular top 9 contributors at minimum. This is a season for them to establish themselves, and show what they’ve got when given opportunity in a top 6 role. If Broissoit remains our back-up, it’s up to him to establish himself as THE back-up moving forward. I wouldn’t count on Puljujarvi to be impactful next year, I’d rather be patient with him and give his minutes to Slepyshev. Last but not least, Nurse and Benning will get another year of experience under their cap. Both have top 4 upside, but I wouldn’t pencil them into the 2nd pairing just yet, purely for the sake of sheltering them.

  8. theDjdj says:

    Diablo: Burns is an interesting comparison as well – he took a number of years to arrive, then wore out his welcome in Minnesota, then exploded in his late 20’s-early 30’s.

    I think the only reason you trade Nurse, is if Doughty (or that calibre D-man) becomes available.

    Burns did start life as a forward first which may have delayed his development. I do think skating/athletic prowess allows you to cheat on awareness that will get you found out at the top level (holds true for other sports I watch too).

  9. Scungilli Slushy says:

    If Nurse can calm his game down his floor is Larsson. I say that because I think if Larsson could skate like Nurse or Klefbom he’d be among the best D in the league, because of his hockey brain and consistency of execution, which is what separates the top from the rest.

    If Nurse can stabilize his play I think he will add more offense and could pass Larsson and perhaps Klefbom overall because of his skating and aggression, the rare package. Pronger lite perhaps. Horrible to play against, beat you any way you want. The worry is calming the game, for many the yips don’t go away.

  10. JDI says:

    According to most hockey commenters, “More is lost to indecision than wrong decision.”

    Bonus points if you can tell me what TV show that quote comes from.

  11. Scungilli Slushy says:

    JDI:
    According to most hockey commenters, “More is lost to indecision than wrong decision.”

    Bonus points if you can tell me what TV show that quote comes from.

    The Apprentice

  12. JDI says:

    Looks like Chia lost out on the Graovac sweepstakes:

    SportsCentre‏Verified account @SportsCentre 12m12 minutes ago

    JUST IN: @Capitals acquire F Tyler Graovac from @mnwild for 2018 5th-Round draft pick. #TradeCentre #NHL http://www.tsn.ca/1.779468

  13. Acumen says:

    Since his draft day, I’ve been likening Nurse to Jason Smith as a pro comp. Admittedly, I did get my hopes up for his uptick in offence in his draft+1 year, but my optimism has always been muted compared to basically everyone else.

    Two things to note. First is that Jason Smith is a damn good turnout f it works that way. Shutdown guys who can still contribute to the offensive game (not necessarily in numbers, but in terms of moving the puck to the right places and people) and bring some elite level nasty are incredibly valuable. Look at Manson down in Cali. The second thing is that he still has a ways to go to get there. Smith locked shit down, a legitimate human eraser on the ice. Darnell showed that capability all the way up to the NHL, but as others have noted, his brains need to catch up to his athleticism at this level. To shine as the type of defender he has to be, his mistakes in his own zone have to be severely curtailed. Think Larsson.

    I’m every bit as pissed today as I was draft day that MacTavish went all astrology on us and picked Nurse because he ran into his Grandpa outside the John rather than taking Ristolainen (ya know, that giant 2 way RHD folks were calling the Finnish Pronger). Love Nurse now and I’ve learned not to resent him for Craig’s transgressions, but holy hannah does that one ever sting.

    I think the range for Nurse is Denis Gauthier on the low end and Eric Brewer on the high end. I would strongly consider trading him if there’s a GM out there who sees a young Chara waiting to blossom though, and I would push that man for a Kings Ransom–maybe we could get Taylor Hall!

  14. GBandQ says:

    JDI:
    According to most hockey commenters, “More is lost to indecision than wrong decision.”

    Bonus points if you can tell me what TV show that quote comes from.

    The Price is Right? 😆

  15. JDI says:

    @GBNDQ

    Points for creativity.

    Bonus points if you can tell me why my browser refuses to work with the ‘quote’ and ‘reply’ functions on this site.

  16. leadfarmer says:

    Diablo: Burns is an interesting comparison as well – he took a number of years to arrive, then wore out his welcome in Minnesota, then exploded in his late 20’s-early 30’s.

    I think the only reason you trade Nurse, is if Doughty (or that calibre D-man) becomes available.

    By wore out his welcome you mean a team that was rebuilding sold his services that were expiring for what was a decent sum: Coyle was a top prospect. first round pick and Setoguchi was a 20 goal scorer previous3 seasons

  17. stush18 says:

    Guys. 300 games. Especially for dmen. Especially for dmen who’s only issue is consistency and making calm plays.

    LT. I’m especially disappointed in you. This is your golden rule and you’re ignoring it!
    I think it’s easy to split nurses season into halves of before/after injury.

    He was destroying the third pairing until he got hurt.

    I’ve been pretty vocal about being doubtful about nurses ability, but I would caution anyone trading him. I think we’re looking at a more athletic larsson. Which is nuts.

  18. T0ML says:

    JDI,

    Logout and back in.

  19. JDI says:

    I should also mention that it works on my phone.

    But not on Win7, i5 HP Elitebook with Firefox. All up to date.

    T0ML,

  20. Lowetide says:

    stush18:
    Guys. 300 games. Especially for dmen. Especially for dmen who’s only issue is consistency and making calm plays.

    LT. I’m especially disappointed in you. This is your golden rule and you’re ignoring it!
    I think it’s easy to split nurses season into halves of before/after injury.

    He was destroying the third pairing until he got hurt.

    I’ve been pretty vocal about being doubtful about nurses ability, but I would caution anyone trading him. I think we’re looking at a more athletic larsson. Which is nuts.

    I didn’t ignore it, it’s right in the RE. Five years. It literally is located inside the RE!

  21. Scungilli Slushy says:

    JDI:
    I should also mention that it works on my phone.

    But not on Win7, i5 HP Elitebook with Firefox. All up to date.

    T0ML,

    I’m no expert but I’m thinking W7 is the issue. Designed or enforced obsolescence as the electronics like to do to us. I have no issues using Firefox on most platforms.

  22. JDI says:

    Scungilli Slushy,

    I would doubt Win7 is it, but maybe I’ll dust off IE and see if that changes anything.

    I need Win7 for work because I use a lot of vendor supplied GUIs for telecom equipment.

    You can use Win10, but it’s just so much easier with 7.

  23. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    – Great post LT!: this D, so much credit has to be given to Chia for Nurse:

    1) In 2015 rather than force Nurse way high, they realized that with Sek they were asking too much, Shultz wasn’t the answer nor was Clendenning FFS!: those were his top-3 partners

    2) In 2016, they found him good 3rd partners – Benning and Gryba: that’s credit to Chia (and McL played him most minutes with Conner-Maroon-Drai)

    3) Larsson slots everyone down a rung in the batting order

    4) When it was clear that both Griff and Nurse couldn’t both be broken in last year, they get Russell, to do heavy-lifting with Sek for the season (and all Russell did was prevent Goals).

    – Larsson, Sek, Benning, Gryba, Russell: all Chia’s signing, all have helped Nurse’s progress

    – Chia knows enough now that he can’t rely on Nurse to be top-4, yet.

    – Sek’s absence hurts his development: can’t ask him and Benning to go top-4, and it’s going to be tougher to break in Griff now…Nurse can take more spins in top-4 though next year

    – Chia deserves kudos for Nurse, IMO: That Fake Plastic Tree guy!

  24. Psyche says:

    I listened to Stauffer’s show on CHED today. He wasn’t hosting, but he shared his opinion on the Nuge to Mtl rumour – shot it down. Later in the show Georges Laraque was asked about the interview and I appreciated his insight. Georges said (and I’m paraphrasing) that Nuge isn’t an ideal fit for Mtl as they need more physical (bigger) centres.

    I can’t imagine the Oiler’s messing with their centre depth while they can afford McDavid, Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins. The trio gives great flexibility and cover a lot of areas of expertise.

  25. RedArmy says:

    Nurse will never have more value then this week. The perception of his upside likely being higher then it is, as well as his expansion ineligibility. Tie that into the situation in Colorado and I offer up Nuge and Nurse for Duchene.

  26. Professor Q says:

    It’s already been 4 years?!

    Holy heck.

  27. Diablo says:

    RedArmy:
    Nurse will never have more value then this week. The perception of his upside likely being higher then it is, as well as his expansion ineligibility. Tie that into the situation in Colorado and I offer up Nuge and Nurse for Duchene.

    Then you have to find another LD – with Sekera out and Russell no lock to return, we’d be one injury away from having to dress Fayne, Reinhart + 2 other AHLers.

    If they are going to trade Nurse, then it should be for D who bats higher in the order.

  28. StixMalone says:

    Diablo: Then you have to find another LD – with Sekera out and Russell no lock to return, we’d be one injury away from having to dress Fayne, Reinhart + 2 other AHLers.

    If they are going to trade Nurse, then it should be for D who bats higher in the order.

    Agreed

  29. JDI says:

    You’d better hit a home farking run if you trade Nurse now.

  30. Scungilli Slushy says:

    JDI:
    Scungilli Slushy,

    I would doubt Win7 is it, but maybe I’ll dust off IE and see if that changes anything.

    I need Win7for work because I use a lot of vendor supplied GUIs for telecom equipment.

    You can use Win10, but it’s just so much easier with 7.

    Agreed .

  31. hags9k says:

    To me he looks like he is still growing into his body. IMO Nurse is going to be the goods.

    You said it LT, we are only 4 years post draft. Wait 5 years! I think the experience gained this spring plus continued physical development will mean he breaks out bigtime in 17-18.

    You don’t want to count on it though, a Sekera replacement is still a good plan, but I think Bambi comes on real strong this winter.

  32. BlueNoteNorth says:

    Is there going to be a Part 3 of the State of the Prospect Pool?

    There are some names missing, which is a little unsettling.

  33. jtblack says:

    Interesting article and comments. Sounds like we all agree that Darnell has the physical tools but maybe lacks execution or game mgmt or experience (take your pick).

    I will say this. IF Darnell can be a Solid #2 LHD in the next year or two, it will greatly help Edmonton. As he will be on a Cap Friendly contract and will be a part of the team for 1/2 dozen years in that role (Charlie Huddy, Craig Muni?) …

    I like Nurse. Once he loses the “spin o rama, oops Getzlaf killed me” blips in his game, he will be a player.

    My Darnell Mantra for this season. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

    Let’s Go Darnell. We need you!

  34. Pouzar says:

    I promised myself I wouldn’t read the comments on this one.
    I hate myself.

  35. Gerta Rauss says:

    JDI:
    According to most hockey commenters, “More is lost to indecision than wrong decision.”

    Bonus points if you can tell me what TV show that quote comes from.

    The Sopranos

  36. Lowetide says:

    Pouzar:
    I promised myself I wouldn’t read the comments on this one.
    I hate myself.

    Haha. In preparation for writing this, I ran the outdoor game and that beautiful goal. Before his injury, Nurse was really playing well. He wasn’t as good afterward (although still solid), so maybe a full healthy season this coming year vaults him higher.

  37. Bank Shot says:

    Nurse has gotten better every season since being drafted.

    Yes, he hasn’t been an instant sensation at the NHL level, but he was drafted for his raw tools rather than how polished he was in juniors.

    I think he’ll continue to progress and he’ll still have the size and skating advantage he had in junior.

    Once his strength catches up to his frame, I think he’s going to be a menace to play against.

    Easy top four defenseman, and he will be highly coveted by other team’s fans.

    I think its only right to worry about him after he stops progressing which hasn’t happened yet.

  38. JDI says:

    Gerta Rauss: The Sopranos

    Ding ding ding!

  39. --hudson-- says:

    VOR had a beautiful post on Nurse about a month ago I’ll quote below:

    ———

    I was wondering if you know that there is a large and constantly growing body of evidence that shows:
    A) decision making is a teachable skill not purely an innate talent
    B) decision making gets better with age
    C) A and B are true in sports as well as a number of other fields of human endeavor
    D) it is even true in sports officiating
    Little tidbit, in social sports like hockey how good a ref is at the job is more dependent on their communication skill than any other factor but decision making improves as communication skills improve. As it happens there is recent research that shows as players learn to communicate better with each other, with their coach and with the officials the players’ in game decision making skills improve as well. What I am trying to say is that any team that gives up on a young player because of bad decision making is in need of better coaches not better players. Coaches who are better communicators and who can teach decision making. Veteran laden teams tend to win the Stanley Cup because their decision making is better.

    Nurse will get better with age and with skilled instruction could improve quickly and significantly. If that improvement is rapid enough his decision making will develop to an acceptable level before his physical skills deteriorate to average.

    Maybe I should say, when I talk about working on the non-physical aspects of coaching decision making is one of the things I teach/coach. So I am sort of talking my book. However, if anyone is interested I can post numerous links on the subject.

  40. Gerta Rauss says:

    JDI: Ding ding ding!

    Can’t remember what episode it was but I seem to recall Tony in bed talking with Carmella

    Great line…great show

  41. JDI says:

    Gerta Rauss,

    They were discussing the beach house, if I recall.

    I still measure every drama against the sopranos.

  42. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Pouzar:
    I promised myself I wouldn’t read the comments on this one.
    I hate myself.

    I knew I would find you in this thread nonetheless.

    I hold that the 5 years post draft rule works for forwards but D I actually think is 7-8. I don’t think you can really say you know what you have in a D until 25 years old. It’s just that much harder to play that position at the NHL level.

    The early returns are that “the rightie Finn who shall not be named” in the context of Nurse got off to a way better pro career start than Darnell. But there is still time.

    Speaking of Finns, taking Finnair for the first time. Pretty good service.

  43. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Flying over Joensuu now. Where’s Jesse?

  44. russ99 says:

    Last year was Nurse’s second full season and he was hurt for half of it.

    So I’ll grade on a curve.

    Years from draft year is less important than games played.

    Darnell is in a similar place that Klefbom was last year, injury issues, holes in his game. I suspect he’ll make a similar turn north this year if healthy.

    Can’t rate Nurse against Benning, that’s a bit of a fluke, you can’t expect that every year, and players coming out of college generally are more mature and have more of a complete game than those going the Junior route,

  45. russ99 says:

    Psyche:
    I listened to Stauffer’s show on CHED today. He wasn’t hosting, but he shared his opinion on the Nuge to Mtl rumour – shot it down. Later in the show Georges Laraque was asked about the interview and I appreciated his insight. Georges said (and I’m paraphrasing) that Nuge isn’t an ideal fit for Mtl as they need more physical (bigger) centres.

    I can’t imagine the Oiler’s messing with their centre depth while they can afford McDavid, Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins. The trio gives great flexibility and cover a lot of areas of expertise.

    That’s the exact same reason why IMO the Oilers will move RNH within the next year.

    When Leon moves to center full time, we need someone more physical at 3C (or If we’ve already acquired that player) and RNH becomes expendable. And nobody wants a 4/$6M RW without a quality shot or a good cycle game. Thus a potential strength becomes a weakness with a boat anchor contract when we’re at the cap.

    This is a big show and tell this summer for RNH: if we keep him, he needs to show up in camp stronger (he’s 6’1 / 195 so it should be doable), be willing to go to the tougher areas (not float above the circles) and be able to keep the puck on the wall – go back and watch the playoff games again to see how poor he is at that.

    His defensive game is good, but mostly involves stickwork, he also needs to play more physically on defense. Strength will help with faceoffs too.

  46. jtblack says:

    Trades? Hello.

    Action. Where are you?

  47. Pouzar says:

    Lowetide: Haha. In preparation for writing this, I ran the outdoor game and that beautiful goal. Before his injury, Nurse was really playing well. He wasn’t as good afterward (although still solid), so maybe a full healthy season this coming year vaults him higher.

    Yer memory is spot on.

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