NURSE!

Although he’s probably two years away, when Darnell Nurse arrives the Oilers should have most of an outstanding homegrown blue at the NHL level. Add Nurse to Justin Schultz, Jeff Petry, Ladislav Smid, Oscar Klefbom, Martin Marincin and one of Martin Gernat or Dillon Simpson and we’re talking about an impressive group of young defenders.

Darnell Nurse is the key. Why? Wide range of skills. Darnell Nurse is skilled, fast, big and tough. He’s the kind of defenseman Oiler fans have been watching on the other team for a decade–and those defensemen have gained fame by wrecking the brilliant skilled men sent over the boards by the Oilers.

Darnell Nurse is a lot of things, and above average in most of them. He may be  a franchise defenseman.

nurse hockey card

BOB MCKENZIE #9

  • Craig Button: Big, strong and competitive and he imposes himself on opponents. Very strong skater with quickness, agility and balance and he uses it very effectively to close on plays defensively and to move play ahead and out of his defensive zone. Has expanded his overall game and especially his offensive game to the point where he is demonstrating the ability of a top minute defenceman who can contribute in all areas. Darnell is a very well rounded and dependable player who plays with a competitive spirit that says ‘I’m here to do whatever is necessary to win.’ The type who can ‘log’ lots of important minutes in a game and these are valuable players in the NHL.

REDLINE REPORT #8

  • Kyle Woodlief — USA Today: Next up is the huge and rapidly improving Darnell Nurse, who is the most naturally physical defender available. He made good strides in his offensive game and has a heavy shot that is an asset on the power play. He likes to dish out punishment along the walls and easily separates his check from the puck. Nurse also scores off the charts in both his character and intelligence levels, and at a gangly 6-5, already has the footwork of a much smaller man.

INTERNATIONAL SCOUTING SERVICES: #6

  • International Scouting Services “Not only is Nurse an excellent 1 on 1 defender but he adds an intense mean streak to put fear in the opposition. He shows no hesitation in doing what it takes to win from blocking shots to dropping the mitts, Darnell was born to lead. Offensively he brings an arsenal of weapons whether it’s using his vision to find his man up ice or jumping up into the rush he continues to develop in these areas. He shows excellent mobility on the point and has great quickness for his size which makes him very effective in PP situations. He has a heavy shot but could stand to use it more often. Has all the tools to be a franchise defender and captain down the road.”

 TULSKY’S GOLD

tulsky's gold

Eric Tulsky is doing insane work at various spots on the internet and he came up with a way to estimate ‘qual comp’ for defensemen in the CHL. The graph above estimates his ice-time (heavy, and we know he’s not on the 1PP) and that he’s playing against the 2nd toughest opponents. Now, this isn’t something we can say is absolute proof of defensive ability, but it does suggest he’s being relied on at a very young age. A nice arrow.

THE DRAFT #7 OVERALL

  • Craig MacTavish: “He gives us an element we’re sorely lacking. He’s a guy who, over time, if we’re patient with him, is going to provide us with toughness. He’s a guy that will ride shotgun for a lot of our first overall picks and our skilled players for a lot of years. But our overriding draft philosophy is still to draft the player who is going to have the greatest impact on our team over time.  Based on that philosophy, I still thought Darnell was the player who is going to have the greatest impact on our team.”

nurse2

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Darnell Nurse
  • 6.05, 192
  • 68, 12-29-41 116 (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL)
  • NHLE: 82, 4-11-15

NURSE AT EVENS

nurse comparables at evens

Nurse didn’t get a lot of PP time–we know this just by reading about the Greyhounds–but did deliver well on the 2nd unit. At evens, his offensive output was strong and suggests that this coming season may season an offensive spike. Should that happen, the Oilers may have selected a player whose true offensive value was not on display during his draft season (although Nurse’s value to his team is going to be heavily defensive for his career based on what we know).

BROCK OTTEN, OHL PROSPECTS

  • At this point, Nurse is definitely my top prospect available from the OHL. All season long, I wrestled back and forth between Monahan and Nurse. But it’s clearly Nurse now IMO. He possesses so much potential at the next level. He could be a perennial Norris candidate IMO. The thing I like most about Nurse is how much he improved this season from the last. You need to look at that progression and think about just how good he could be, if he continues to tap into his athletic bloodlines (father was a CFL player), and continues to improve. He’s certainly a potential dynamo at both ends of the ice. His size (6’5, pushing 200lbs), makes him an asset in the defensive end. As does his skating ability. He’s incredibly difficult to get around and he’s physical enough to intimidate. As he gets stronger, I expect his physical game to become more consistent and more effective. He certainly has the mentality to be a bruiser. In the defensive end, he’s still learning a bit. He can get caught out of position at times, but with strong coaching I think this improves. Offensively, he went through the biggest transformation this season. He looked very poised and confident with the puck and took chances in leading and joining the rush. His skating ability makes him a threat offensively. He’s also got an absolute cannon of a shot that will only get better as he gets stronger. His play on the powerplay is improving. This year, with Ryan Sproul and Colin Miller on the point, Nurse was relegated to the 2nd unit. Next year, it’ll be his show to run and I expect very big things from him. When all is said and done, Nurse has the potential to be one of those defenseman who doesn’t really have any holes in his game. He’s the complete package and I think he’s the 2nd defenseman off the board after Seth Jones.

FINAL COMMENTS

Remember when Stu MacGregor talked about MacT’s draft emphasis?

  • MacGregor: “Well with Mac, skill is really important to him. That’s something that he’s looked for. Obviously the other intangibles of character, hard work, quality of people and players who are passionate to play the game are important, but he really has a high regard for skill.

I believe the scouts and MacTavish were torn on this selection, and I do believe they were close to taking Nichushkin. Given the opportunity to solve one of two problems (Complete defenseman, power forward) MacT went against the scouting philosophy of the Oilers (mentioned above) and took the blue. It’s a big deal because it runs counter to the Oilers draft history–they’ve long believed that taking a forward is the better plan. Math tells us that the forward is the better bet, and yet Darnell Nurse goes to the front of the line of defensemen that is rich and varied, and does it because of the wide range of skills.

Darnell Nurse has tremendous potential. If he can deliver, he’ll make Craig MacTavish look like a genius and help calm the waters on defense for the first time in a decade.

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65 Responses to "NURSE!"

  1. striatic says:

    two years is such a long time, but since it is only 2 years into the Hall contract, that should give him a rookie year to adjust, a sophomore year to slump, and then 2 more years to play with the Oilers team before Hall leaves town as a UFA.

  2. magisterrex says:

    Boy am I tired of reading BS negative comments. I get it: the Oilers have sucked for years. I’d like to think things are improving, though. Glass half-fiull, and all that.

  3. speeds says:

    It will be interesting to see when EDM signs him to his ELC. So far, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 10th, 12th, and 25th OV picks have been signed, Nurse’s contract should seemingly be pretty easy to negotiate (Ristolainen -8 OV – got max ELC salary, all A and no B bonuses, same as Lindholm -6 OV – and Rielly – 5 OV last year).

  4. Rondo says:

    Nurse seems like the type of guy that puts 110% into everything. I’m sure when he got drafted by the Oilers, he was thinking got get to the gym. right now. He is a workaholic with a great attitude .

    I bet he will be in the NHL in 1 year. Assuming he is healthy.

  5. Woodguy says:

    . He looked very poised and confident with the puck and took chances in leading and joining the rush.

    Poise!!

    Stu liked him in his draft year!!

    What could go wrong??

    Also,

    Seriously he has the ability to be a multi-tool anchor on the LHD.

    The future is stacking up Klef-Nurse on LHD and Shultz-Petry on RHD with lots of guys to fill in the other slots.

    Will just take time.

    Speaking of time, I hope the name Alex Pietrangelo gets thrown around a lot next camp.

    Why?

    The #4 overall from 2008 spent the 2 years after his draft year in the OHL.

    Then in his first full NHL season in 10/11 played on STL top pairing and was also their shot differential leader on the back end.

    No need to rush players, especially with the depth the Oilers currently have on D.

  6. jonrmcleod says:

    “Remember when Stu MacGregor talked about MacT’s draft emphasis?”

    No, I don’t think you’ve ever mentioned that before. :)

  7. Woodguy says:

    speeds:
    It will be interesting to see when EDM signs him to his ELC.So far, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 10th, 12th, and 25th OV picks have been signed, Nurse’s contract should seemingly be pretty easy to negotiate (Ristolainen -8 OV – got max ELC salary, all A and no B bonuses, same as Lindholm -6 OV – and Rielly – 5 OV last year).

    I’d prefer if MacT pulls a Lou and doesn’t give him any bonuses (like Lou did with Larsson), or at the least, minimal bonuses to help with the overall cap number.

    The bonus cushion helps, but the bonus overage is still there and the Oilers should be very competitive in 2 years and having Nurse on super value contract would really help.

  8. Lowetide says:

    Probably sign him at TC, if they don’t do it in the next week or so. I don’t think it’ll be an issue, the guy I worry over is Dillon Simpson.

  9. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    Probably sign him at TC, if they don’t do it in the next week or so. I don’t think it’ll be an issue, the guy I worry over is Dillon Simpson.

    If you were Dillon would you sign with the OIlers and their depth on D in OKC?

    I wouldn’t.

  10. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: If you were Dillon would you sign with the OIlers and their depth on D in OKC?

    I wouldn’t.

    Not a chance. And since my Dad knows everyone….

  11. PunjabiOil says:

    If you were Dillon would you sign with the OIlers and their depth on D in OKC?

    Wonder what advice home-wrecker Craig Simpson is giving to his son.

    ____________

    Re: Nurse – he has the upside, which is why it’s confusing MacT was willing to give up him for 2 years of Cory Schneider? Especially since he hasn’t really significantly improved the depth of the forward group.

    ____________

    Re: Gagner – can’t help but think perhaps Gagner was willing to sign for reasonable dollar (according to Stauffer they were close to a 4 year contract in the 4.7-5M range around the draft) until the Oilers offered ridiculous money to Clarkson?

    Loyalty and home town discounts can quickly drop if you bring in external workers at premium dollars. This transcends sport, and is applicable to real life.

  12. Lowetide says:

    PJ Oil: Based on the draft moment, I don’t think MacT will let go of Nurse. Full stop. Nurse is MacT’s choice, he’s probably as secure as Taylor Hall at this point.

  13. PunjabiOil says:

    I understand the scouts wanted Nichuskin, but MacT wanted Nurse. Time will tell if it was the right move. It should be noted 2 other teams passed on Nichuskin after the Oilers selection.

    At the same time, if Dreger/Rishaug are to be believed, the Oilers did offer #7OV for Schneider. If the team is that serious about winning this year, why hasn’t MacT been a little bit more aggressive? Retaining a Ryan Jones, or signing a big question mark like Joensuu is a bit puzzling, with better options out there.

    We wait.

  14. Rebilled says:

    2 to 1 odds that Principe dresses up like a doctor for his first game.

    Metropolitan Division? Seriously?

    Bettman is clearly a super villain. Shitman.

  15. Lowetide says:

    Got a tweet asking me if I knew about the Oilers signing this guy.

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=76181

    Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

  16. jonrmcleod says:

    Rebilled,

    Wasn’t the division named after Glen Metropolit?

  17. Магия¹º says:

    Lowetide: And since my Dad knows everyone

    Sincerely Yours, Sam.

  18. Lowetide says:

    jonrmcleod:
    Rebilled,

    Wasn’t the division named after Glen Metropolit?

    Klap.

  19. jonrmcleod says:

    Lowetide,

    Petri Kontiola was named the top forward at the 2013 World Championship. I haven’t heard that the Oilers signed him.

  20. Maverick says:

    Lowetide:
    Got a tweet asking me if I knew about the Oilers signing this guy.

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=76181

    Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

    Interesting…… hmm.

    This is what I found so far.

    http://kuklaskorner.com/psh/comments/what-petri-kontiolas-whc-performance-tells-us

    If indeed the Oilers are shaking the trees in Europe to find depth I think that is a good thing, Detroit model anyone?? That is what they did many many years ago when they stunk and wanted to get better. Don’t know much about him but he was born on my birthday so he can`t be all bad ;-)

  21. markmac says:

    Hmmm. Kontiola looks like he’s an Oiler, about to be an Oiler, or just a huge fan of Charlie Huddy: https://twitter.com/Retee27

  22. jonrmcleod says:

    markmac,

    Please explain. I don’t see anything.

  23. BG14 says:

    striatic:
    two years is such a long time, but since it is only 2 years into the Hall contract, that should give him a rookie year to adjust, a sophomore year to slump, and then 2 more years to play with the Oilersteam before Hall leaves town as a UFA.

    Hall contract is 7 years, not 6. The greatest gift Tambellini ever did bring.

  24. markmac says:

    jonrmcleod,

    That’s not the Traktor Chelyabinsk jersey Mr. Kontiola is using as a background image…

  25. jonrmcleod says:

    markmac,

    I missed that. Interesting.

  26. sliderule says:

    I wanted Horvat but I am warming up to Nurse.

    I am however worried about him getting hurt.He is skinny and his aggressiveness could lead to concussions and dare I say the word shoulder injuries.

    The oil should tell kids like Nurse and even Moroz to intimidate but don’t fight as much.

  27. striatic says:

    Kontinola listed with an Oiler logo here:

    http://snsl.smash-it.ch/player.php?player=1307

    oddness.

  28. jonrmcleod says:

    striatic,

    I think he may have been Oilers’ property in the past.

  29. SpotTheLoon says:

    I like the drafting of Nurse. I understand the philosophy of the Oilers taking forwards given development time etc. That said, the only way that the team is likely to get potential number 1 defenders is through the draft as trades are cost prohibitive. The analysis posted above makes him sound a little Prongeresque which isn’t a bad thing at all. Skates well, has a bit of an edge, heavy shot and can separate defenders from the puck. I am especially heartened by the fact that his arrows may suggest his improvement will continue in an upward fashion given that he may be a better player next season in the OHL.

    I hope that the Oilers are patient with him like the Blues were with Pietrangelo in his development. I think that drafting Nurse, assuming he progresses as is hoped, is a shrewd move by MacT. Even if he does not become a number 1 defender, he should be able to fulfill a role for many years with the team.

  30. Rebilled says:

    jonrmcleod,

    I endorse that Glen remark for President.

    For or five the record, Bettmans’ super power has A LOT to do with feces that we shouldn’t get into here.

  31. striatic says:

    jonrmcleod: I think he may have been Oilers’ property in the past.

    i thought so too, but can’t find any evidence whatsoever for this being the case.

  32. SpotTheLoon says:

    Crazy football game here in Calgary. Damned Stamps rose from the dead. Let’s hope for good things from the Eskies tonight.

  33. spoiler says:

    What’s the over-under for the first Eskie penalty? 3? 5?

    Oh crap, never mind.

  34. Mr DeBakey says:

    According to Eliteprospects, Kontiola is under contract to Traktor for another season.

    But this guy is available:
    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=70501

  35. mustang says:

    Darnell Nurse, I couldn’t have been happier to hear MacT call his name on draft day. This kid is exactly what we need, I have faith this kid is going to be the Taylor Hall of the blue, if you will. Mac got it right,

  36. VanOil says:

    More Finns please. More Centers please. More WHC level talent please.

  37. Ray says:

    Mr DeBakey:
    According to Eliteprospects, Kontiola is under contract to Traktor for another season.

    But this guy is available:
    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=70501

    Those euro contracts usually have outs for NHL signings…

    He can be the new Traktor Boy!

  38. gogliano says:

    jonrmcleod:
    striatic,

    I think he may have been Oilers’ property in the past.

    When? I think he was Hawks/Ducks property.

    Also no shoulder issues.

  39. Evilas says:

    Kontiola looks like Andy Moog in his pseudo-oilers profile pic…….coincidence?

  40. VanOil says:

    Rookie Blue is the show with unrealistically attractive defenders of the peace right?

    How do we graduate our Crop of Blue if Nurse is to make the team in two years? Belov (kind of) Schultz Jr (kind of) and Kelfbom (for sure in the second half) are likely to all play this year. Marincin, Fedun and Nurse knocking on the door the year after? Germat, Simpson and Musil the year after? Maybe Davidson surprises and make a push. Don’t get me wrong this is a good problem to have but even if only 1 of 3 of these prospects make it per year that is a very rookie blue for years to come.

  41. lance says:

    VanOil,

    You make all those names sound like poker chips somehow.

  42. VanOil says:

    If a Finnish kid has a Charlie Huddy jersey he deserves at least a bottle of Tikkanen Hot Dog if not an Oilers NHL contract. http://blog.shnarped.com/2013/05/18/video-esa-tikkanens-hot-dog-commercial-funny/

  43. VanOil says:

    lance,

    I am not sure about poker but I would J walk more often if cops actually looked like this Rookie Blue star. http://media.screened.com/uploads/0/963/318946-mp.jpg

  44. zilong says:

    striatic:
    Kontinola listed with an Oiler logo here:

    http://snsl.smash-it.ch/player.php?player=1307

    oddness.

    Under transaction history it notes him being “sent to farm” in 2012 and 2013. Strange.

  45. lance says:

    VanOil: http://media.screened.com/uploads/0/963/318946-mp.jpg

    A few years ago I got arrested for jay walking. I don’t recall being tackled by anyone like that. Though it was on 118 ave and that may have something to do with both.

  46. Lowetide says:

    zilong: Under transaction history it notes him being “sent to farm” in 2012 and 2013. Strange.

    That doesn’t look real. I expect there’s nothing to it, although his numbers look pretty damn good.

  47. spoiler says:

    zilong: Under transaction history it notes him being “sent to farm” in 2012 and 2013. Strange.

    That’s because you are looking at the transactions of a Fantasy Hockey League. Which is probably better than watching this football game.

  48. VanOil says:

    lance: A few years ago I got arrested for jay walking.I don’t recall being tackled by anyone like that.Though it was on 118 ave and that may have something to do with both.

    One of the reason I no longer live in Edmonton is the Jay walking conviction I received during the last crack down.

  49. lance says:

    VanOil,

    Are you kidding? Two years later in Sweetgrass those prick border guards took all my money and left me in the can for two hours because of it, then because of some missing paperwork they wouldn’t let my American wife in at all. That was the last straw with Canada. We’ve been gone ever since.

    Funny that you bailed for much the same reason.

  50. spoiler says:

    I don’t believe I have ever seen that ruling before.

  51. lance says:

    Actually, the most egregious thing is that I went to court and started asking questions about jurisdiction up until a bunch of cops came into the court room and walked me out of the building. Later they charged me with failure to appear, and this has happened to me now about a half dozen times.

    In the words of Ai Wiewie, fuck canada.

    Free Liu Xiaobo.

  52. spoiler says:

    Okay, can we put this game out of its misery now?

    It wasn’t the penalty-fest of the past two weeks, but still lost 4 points to a bad penalty.

    Another ill-advised throw by Reilly with his back to the end zone. This team is just not good enough at the skill positions.

  53. justDOit says:

    Dying thread, but does anyone know who Nurse was fighting during the long, knock-down, draggem-out affair there? The guy BIGGER than Nurse? It looked like Nurse gave up more than a few pounds to that player, but held up well with some offensive flurries.

  54. fifthcartel says:

    I am pretty disappointed when 75% of his ‘highlight’ video is him fighting.

  55. spoiler says:

    justDOit: Dying thread, but does anyone know who Nurse was fighting during the long, knock-down, draggem-out affair there? The guy BIGGER than Nurse? It looked like Nurse gave up more than a few pounds to that player, but held up well with some offensive flurries.

    Hunter Smith.

    http://ontariohockeyleague.com/roster/show/id/9298

  56. striatic says:

    justDOit: Dying thread, but does anyone know who Nurse was fighting during the long, knock-down, draggem-out affair there? The guy BIGGER than Nurse? It looked like Nurse gave up more than a few pounds to that player, but held up well with some offensive flurries.

    6’6″ Hunter Smith, then of the Windsor Spitfires..

    http://www.hockeyfights.com/fights/110962

  57. bazmagoo says:

    mustang:
    Darnell Nurse, I couldn’t have been happier to hear MacT call his name on draft day. This kid is exactly what we need, I have faith this kid is going to be the Taylor Hall of the blue, if you will. Mac got it right,

    I get that impression too dude. Super positive attitude, great athletic acumen, guy will absolutely be an NHL’er. Let the kid have his 9 games in the big leauges this year, then send him back to junior. He’s likely super competitive, so playing in junior at his ability could be great for his motivation. It’s not really all that fun or challenging to be a dominant player in a lower league. He’s a keeper, imo.

  58. bazmagoo says:

    lance:
    VanOil,

    Are you kidding?Two years later in Sweetgrass those prick border guards took all my money and left me in the can for two hours because of it, then because of some missing paperwork they wouldn’t let my American wife in at all.That was the last straw with Canada.We’ve been gone ever since.

    Funny that you bailed for much the same reason.

    Canadian border guards are dicks man, I’ve been harassed quite a few times but not to that extent. Apologies from a law abiding Canuck.

  59. spoiler says:

    I want something to shake loose from this Rags team that has about $3.4M to sign Stepan and Zuccarello. No way can that get done.

    If we can pick up someone like Brassard for a 2nd and sweetener, do it. He doesn’t have a lot of history there so might be do-able. I bet Sather is hoping someone will take Brad Richards off his hands, but I don’t see that happening.

  60. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I’m loving this Kontiola rumor!!!

    More Centres! More Finns!! And look, he can replace Magnus’ highlight from last year with his own:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qGXBBAf228

    Sign him and Thoresen to cheap one year deals and the bottom 6 instantly looks more respectable and the sink hole at centre washes away.

    Oh… and pick up Clifford for Pitlick and a pick.

  61. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Further to this Kontiola thing…

    If it’s true and if it ends up working well, you can basically chalk up another feather for Frank Musil, no?

    Maybe they are trying to squeeze as much out of him as possible before he leaves.

  62. Lowetide says:

    Rom: I’ve checked around, don’t think it’s true unfortunately. At least he has a KHL contract and no one I’ve talked to knows if he has an out. As for Musil, credit would also be going to Matti Virmanen, as he was instrumental in getting Belov signed and appears to me an emerging name in Oiler pro scouting.

  63. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide:
    Rom: I’ve checked around, don’t think it’s true unfortunately. At least he has a KHL contract and no one I’ve talked to knows if he has an out. As for Musil, credit would also be going to Matti Virmanen, as he was instrumental in getting Belov signed and appears to me an emerging name in Oiler pro scouting.

    Maybe it’ll work this way: They weren’t chasing him, but they see all the chatter and a lightbulb goes off and do so in earnest now.

    Thanks for the tip on Virmanen.

  64. meanashell11 says:

    If he wants to play in the NHL sooner than later then maybe the Adam Larsson contract is his template.

  65. zilong says:

    spoiler: That’s because you are looking at the transactions of a Fantasy Hockey League.Which is probably better than watching this football game.

    Ah! Haha. I blame striatic!

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