Darnell Nurse hammered Pavel Buchnevich and the Russian hammered back, in what was, at least for a moment, gridiron brought to ice. The power and the determination, the power and the glory, belonged to Canada. Darnell Nurse and his teammates shed the blood, sweat and tears in a game I’ll remember for a long time. The beautiful game of hockey is alive and well.
— RDS in English (@RDSinEnglish) January 6, 2015
The Oilers need Nurse to be 23 right now but that isn’t how it works. I’ve mentioned this before but Larry Robinson spent over 100 games in the AHL and at least some time in the minors should be the assumed route for this terrific young prospect. I really like his speed, he can close a gap in a heartbeat and he can certainly carry the puck to safety. I don’t know that we’re going to be talking about his offensive creativity (remember this is ‘saw him good’ in a small sample) but he can roam the earth and the tools are there.
There was a lot of talk on the blog and on twitter last night about Nurse and what kind of player he’ll be in pro. I think it’s important to remember a couple of things, beginning with the fact that prospects who are progressing (as Nurse is) are not yet the sum of their parts—so making any sweeping statements is unwise. It is fair to project into the future based on established levels but we need to be mindful that the player is still matriculating. Here’s what I wrote last month in ranking Nurse as the No. 2 overall prospect in the system:
- Based on his skating, size, and mean streak, I think we’re looking at a top drawer defensive prospect and someone who stands a good chance of making the big team in October 2015. I don’t see him as a power-play monster but he’s so strong and long (with terrific speed) it’s possible he plays well over 20 minutes a night anyway. If Nurse can stay away from injury, and learns the finer points of the NHL game, I suspect he’ll have a long and productive career. Source
NHL ROOKIE BLUE, 2014-15
These are arranged by Corsi for 5×5 %. Young Klefbom is among the group not getting a ZS push and all but Ekblad are second pairing (this is BTN and HockeyAnalysis.com) and the Corsi’s are fairly strong for a rookie group save Zadorov who is playing in a tough spot. Klefbom is playing 21:23 and that’s a lot but if you’re going to audition a player then getting him sorties in a lost season isn’t the worst plan—if he can keep his head above water.
I expect we’ll see Darnell Nurse getting similar opportunities next season, perhaps after 35-40 games in the AHL. Unless there’s a managerial change of direction, these young men are on the fast train. Larry Robinson played 112 AHL games, Oscar Klefbom 57. It’s a different era and the Habs had amazing depth but it’s also true the Oilers fast track. We should expect Darnell in the fall, possibly paired with Mark Fayne on a second pairing with tougher zone starts.
Can I watch Nurse clock ruskies behind the net for the rest of this game please? — Michael Parkatti (@mparkatti) January 6, 2015
IF IT’S NOT ONE THING IT’S ANOTHER
- Joanne Ireland: He left the New Year’s Eve game with a lacerated spleen and will spend the next three months avoiding any contact. For the next month, he will not be allowed to workout. No weights. No cardio. No exceptions. Source
Tyler Pitlick can’t get a break and this one might cost him his Oilers career. The club made a deal last week for Rob Klinkhammer who may end up winning the job Pitlick was applying for (fourth-line winger). It’s a tough break for the 2010 second-round pick and it’s anyone’s guess where he lands next season.
WHICH WAY YOU GOIN’, LEON?
— Global Edmonton (@GlobalEdmonton) January 5, 2015
Leon should be traded some time today, imagine it’ll be Kelowna or Victoria and either spot is a good landing place. I’ll speak to Guy Flaming on the subject this morning but it’s important for Draisaitl to play a lot and post tons of points. I’m not wise enough to know if the the three months he spent in the NHL will hurt his development but do know that Draft +1 is important for these kids to play and to dominate. Godspeed, Leon Draisaitl. Knock ’em dead, kid.
A great article from DVD just up in the last hour, must read. Among several terrific quotes comes this from Taylor Hall: “McDavid is a great player and he’s going to be a special talent, but I don’t think there is anyone in this room that necessarily wants him to be on our team next year.”
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Today’s show begins at 10 sharp, TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, Cult of Hockey, Oilers Nation, All the Other websites. We’ll talk Nelson, WJ’s, Leon.
- Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. We’ll talk WJ, Leon, WHL Deadline.
- Scott Cullen, TSN. We’ll talk Carlyle, how Toronto can turn their possession numbers around, end of the enforcer.
- Travis Yost, TSN. Oilers under Nelson: Are they better or losing the possession game?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. Talk soon!