TRAINING CAMP HOPEFUL NO. 9: DARNELL NURSE

It’s going to be very difficult for the Edmonton Oilers to resist Darnell Nurse. He’s mobile, big, strong, has a mean streak and is beyond determined to win an NHL job this fall. Those old crows in management are going to see themselves 35 years ago and have a helluva time sending him back to the Soo. I bet you actual cash money the Greyhounds don’t expect him back at the start of the season.

RE 14-15 PREVIEW

PPG NAME GP G A PTS
.222 DARNELL NURSE RE 14-15 9 0 2 2
 
  • Kyle Woodlief — USA Today: 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.
  • SSM GM Kyle Dubas: “People get obsessed with Darnell’s plus/minus (plus-1, down from plus-15 the year prior), but his underlying numbers are excellent. Relative to the competition he plays [against], he does extremely well. Far greater than 50 percent of the time, the puck is not in our end. To me, it doesn’t get much bigger than that. If we’re taking the other team’s best players and forcing them to play in their end and away from the puck, that’s a successful day. The quality of competition he’s faced is higher than anyone else in our league, especially among defencemen.
  1. If Nurse makes the team, who is sent down? The Oilers could IR someone like Aulie, or send out someone like Marincin or Klefbom. There’s many ways to do it.
  2. Is it possible for Nurse to stay all season? Certainly. He’s the future, if it arrives this fall the club will make room for him.
  3. How do they alter the roster to make room? MacT has to get busy. A trade would be likely, although again injury factors in to these things. There’s also the matter of center, so Nurse on defense might be involved in the 2C equation. Should there may a gaping hole there, a defenseman for center trade could happen at the end of training camp. Either way, Nurse is the hammer—the Oilers love him.
  4. Will he play on the power play and penalty kill? I doubt it. Oilers have invested heavily in Nikitin, he’ll get the push with Petry. Nurse could play secondary on PP, and penalty kill time would be minimal unless he thrives. Ference-Fayne will be used heavily 4×5.
  5. If Nurse plays his first NHL games fall 2015, where will he be on the depth chart? Suspect Edmonton will throw him into a feature role, maybe with Fayne as mentor. Eventually, I believe Nurse and Schultz as a top pairing will see the light of day. Suspect that’s the vision at the offices on Kingsway.

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27 Responses to "TRAINING CAMP HOPEFUL NO. 9: DARNELL NURSE"

  1. TheOtherJohn says:

    Will play a very long NHL career but absent 9 games this year it will not start this year. Book it. In part because of his struggles in AHL last year. It will also be better for his development

  2. Diesel says:

    justDOit:
    http://audioboo.fm/boos/2380985-tsn-1290-hustler-and-lawless-dallas-eakins-augst-7-2014

    Interesting. Makes you wonder if ol’ Bucky and Smith weren’t connecting with the players in a meaningful way. Wouldn’t surprise me that someone with an inflated sense of job security would turn into a desk-jockey.

  3. Lowetide says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Will play a very long NHL career but absent 9 games this year itwill not start this year. Book it. In part because of his struggles in AHL last year. It will also be better for his development

    I think the AHL struggles have been wildly overrated. That’s a tough time for a kid to be thrown into the deep end. He sure looked good to my eye considering the jump from O to A

  4. blainer says:

    I am high on Nurse and believe he is the rock we have been needing on D since forever.. I too saw a struggling young player in OKC but as LT has pointed out it was a small sample and things change at a rapid pace at his age. He will push hard for a spot. He could stay up with the oilers playing the 9 games over a long stretch then the WJC and after that work on the memorial cup. Or he could turn into Trouba. I will say this the defence position will have serious competition come the fall.

  5. OilFire says:

    Diesel: Interesting. Makes you wonder if ol’ Bucky and Smith weren’t connecting with the players in a meaningful way. Wouldn’t surprise me that someone with an inflated sense of job security would turn into a desk-jockey.

    What part of the clip makes you wonder that?

  6. sliderule says:

    The stars and roster are all lined up for Leon to play.

    Not so much for Nurse.Mact has added so many D to roster Klefbom a much more Nhl ready defender will start in OK city.

    Nurse will get his nine games but will have to knock your socks off to stay longer.

    Knocking your socks off is darn near impossible for a player who will be well rounded but mostly defensive.

  7. DBO says:

    I expect and hope their D plans in 3 yrs are

    Nurse-Fayne
    Marincin-Petry
    Klefbom-Schultz

    That could be their D next year, but with Ference and Nikitin still under contract, who knows. But that D is balanced, big and has two way potential with 4 of them, with Fayne more D and Schultz more O. I would be happy with that in 2 yrs, just not this year or preferably not next year.

  8. Gordies Elbow says:

    DBO,

    Nikitin is only signed for 2. I think that MacT is thinking the same way, with more money against a shorter term, good deal for both sides. Klefbom or Nurse has his spot.

    Also, Ference as a 7th, one year left on his contract at $3.25m for 16-17? Wouldn’t be a shock – with his fitness level, combined with his community work, I could see him playing that role to a “T”.

  9. godot10 says:

    If Eakins put as much effort into coaching as he does into self-promotion and PR, he would be a better coach than Scotty Bowman.

    Has anybody in the esteemed media fawning over Eakins in the summer (again), bothered to ask him what happens to the systems and the style of play he said he put in place for this season at the Olympic break, now that Ramsey and Dellow have been signed on.

    Which was the bluster? The bluster after the Olympic break about how he’d fixed things for this seasonand the systems and style of play were set in place, or about how Ramsey and Dellow and summer camps in basic interpersonal skills in Texas and Missouri are going to help him change everything.

    Methinks it is just bluster all the time. The guy knows how to spin a good story.

    Fool me once, shame on you (although I wasn’t fooled once). Fool me twice, shame on me.

    Leopards don’t change their spots. I am still betting that Toonces is alive and well.

  10. Lois Lowe says:

    Does it get tiring hating on Eakins, godot? You’re going on almost a year of the exact same narrative.

  11. Gordies Elbow says:

    godot10,

    I don’t like Eakins as a coach, but that said, people can change if they’re willing to. The hiring of Ramsay (experienced coach who was a protoege of Captain Video) and Dellow (who’s been critical of the organization, with good reason,) indicates the possibility that he’s trying to learn.

    Problem with the Oilers has been too many people trying to learn the job while on the job. Some, like Hall, Hopkins, and Eberle are finally rounding into form. We gave them time to do so. Why shouldn’t we with the coach?

  12. Pouzar says:

    godot10:
    If Eakins put as much effort into coaching as he does into self-promotion and PR,

    Yeah….that’s what he’s doin.

    By all accounts he responsible for hiring Ramsay and Dellow and is picking the brains of every coach south of the border. The guy is trying but spin it what ever way you feel you need to.

  13. Gordies Elbow says:

    Lowetide, one of the “Items that may grow up to be columns:” Projecting the starting roster for next year, the players that have been acquired since March 14th, 2013 (the day MacTavish became GM)
    – Pouliot
    – Draisaitl
    – Perron
    – Purcell
    – Hendricks
    – Gordon
    – Gazdic
    – Ference
    – Fayne
    – Nikitin
    – Aulie
    – Scrivens
    – Fasth

    Players who were Oilers that date:
    – Hall
    – Hopkins
    – Eberle
    – Yakupov
    – Lander
    – Pitlick
    – Petry
    – Marincin
    – Schultz

    Gone:
    – Horcoff
    – Smyth
    – Hemsky
    – Gagner
    – Paajarvi
    – Belanger
    – Omark
    – 2nd in 2014
    – 3rd in 2014
    – Smid
    – Dubnyk

    Couple of questions to look at:
    – MacT has remade a large percentage of the roster. Better? Now? Future?
    – From what was left from Tambo, take away the 1st’s overall, the lucky signing, and 2nd’s, and what do you have?
    – Anyone missing? Coaching?

  14. godot10 says:

    Last summer, the old school drill sergeant schtick. My way or the highway. The puppetmaster who was going to make all his Bo Jangles puppets dance.

    This summer, the postmodern money-puck human relationship specialist embracing diversity and self-esteem management.

    C’mon, we’ve got no problem letting Toonces drive the car again. Don’t even bother to use your seatbelts. Craig has tuned up the motor, and Tyler has programmed the enhanced driving assist features of the car. What could go wrong?

    Mass selective amnesia of everything Eakins said from the Olympic break to the end of the season seems to have taken hold.

  15. flyfish1168 says:

    JMHO. Darnell will get 9 games. The 1st quarter games generally is the easiest. It only gets more difficult as the season progresses. I still feel there is lots of growth left if Darnell returns to juniors. Physically he needs more time to get that man strength. Going to the WJC would be a start and then a few games at the end of the season down in the AHL will better prepare him for 2015-16.

  16. speeds says:

    I don’t see why EDM would keep him unless he looks like he can step in and play top 4 minutes, or they think he can play his way up to that relatively quickly.

    It’ll be tough to outplay 3 of Nikitin, Marincin, Klefbom, and Ference. Yes, they can move two of those guys down if they want to, but what’s the point if Nurse isn’t clearly ahead of those guys? Will he be? I’d be surprised, but he’s at an age where quick improvement is not impossible.

    Maybe they look at giving him a couple games depending on how he shows in preseason?

  17. "Steve Smith" says:

    Lois Lowe:
    Does it get tiring hating on Eakins, godot? You’re going on almost a year of the exact same narrative.

    godot10:
    Last summer, the old school drill sergeant schtick.My way or the highway.The puppetmaster who was going to make all his Bo Jangles puppetsdance.

    This summer, the postmodern money-puck human relationship specialist embracing diversity and self-esteem management.

    C’mon, we’ve got no problem letting Toonces drive the car again.Don’t even bother to use your seatbelts.Craig has tuned up the motor, and Tyler has programmed the enhanced driving assist features of the car.What could go wrong?

    Massselective amnesia of everything Eakins said from the Olympic break to the end of the season seems to have taken hold.

    So, that’s a no?

  18. book¡je says:

    This may sound crazy, but LT, do you have a different interviewer for the Training Camp Hopeful series than the RE series? The training camp hopeful interviewer is much more pleasant and professional sounding and doesn’t seem to ‘push your buttons’ as much.

  19. commonfan14 says:

    Lois Lowe: Does it get tiring hating on Eakins, godot? You’re going on almost a year of the exact same narrative.

    I must have missed the part where Eakins put him in his place.

    Here’s hoping it’s this year.

  20. VanOil says:

    For those of you who are psychological statis, for those of you that are not, and even for those of you who like breaking the bones of relatives that desperately deserve it. Here is a video on the race to average and being happy. http://goo.gl/80GRCw

  21. VanOil says:

    Lois Lowe:
    Does it get tiring hating on Eakins, godot? You’re going on almost a year of the exact same narrative.

    Poor Godot, Ralph’s firing broke him. I understand. We are all crazy to follow/support this team. When Yak leaves I expect to be so broken I make Godot look sane and DSF rational. Sadder yet I can foresee my own physiological break yet not look away.

  22. anonymous says:

    Nurse will always be tied to Nikushkin in my eyes. Same goes for Drasaitl and Bennett. Didn’t mind the latter but I think Nurse over Nikushkin will end up being a mistake. Hope I’m wrong.

    Also don’t believe Eakins is responsible for the Ramsey or Dellow hirings. Maybe Ramsey indirectly through his own incompetence.

  23. Lowetide says:

    book¡je:
    This may sound crazy, but LT, do you have a different interviewer for the Training Camp Hopeful series than the RE series?The training camp hopeful interviewer is much more pleasant and professional sounding and doesn’t seem to ‘push your buttons’as much.

    Actually, yes. The Training Camp Hopeful is a guy at training camp sitting next to me in the stands. We talk in a friendly manner, but do not know each other well. so, there’s a certain formality that does not exists with the RE guy.

  24. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: Actually, yes. The Training Camp Hopeful is a guy at training camp sitting next to me in the stands. We talk in a friendly manner, but do not know each other well. so, there’s a certain formality that does not exists with the RE guy.

    So… we’re all just eaves dropping from the row behind.

  25. justDOit says:

    One last game in the summer dev camp junior series later today – Sweden/Russia:

    http://stats.hockeycanada.ca/schedule/league_instance/20720?subseason=165586

    It’s strange that Sweden only gets one game at this camp – would have liked to see them play the Canadian squad.

  26. russ99 says:

    I’m still with Godot on this one.

    Maybe, just maybe, he’s gotten some humility and is getting help, but he’s got a long way to go in the room to turn things around, and that starts in training camp, not visiting other coaches or in the press. The results are the results, we’ll see.

    Also, it really rubs me the wrong way (and leads me to believe it’s same old, same old) in the podcast where Eakins is making everything sound like it’s a one man operation and he’s making all decisions. It’s a team effort, and IMO his boss is the one doing the heavy lifting, not Eakins.

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