Darnell Nurse Has Arrived And Is Only Getting Better


Okay, maybe it’s not safe to say Darnell Nurse has “arrived”, but he’s pretty close. In fact, he better be; the 2013 draft class, one of the best in recent memory, has seen every draft pick become an NHL regular (info from the Edmonton Journal). That can only mean that Nurse is next.

Along with Nurse, just how great was the 2013 draft class? How about the names Nathan McKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, Seth Jones, and Sean Monahan, just to name a few. Jones and Rasmus Ristolainen have become regular defensemen in the NHL, and Nurse should be able to join that elite class once he makes the jump to the NHL.

Nurse has seen time in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers for two games before he was returned to his junior team, the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds who had the most points in the Ontario Hockey League this past season. He’s played very well for the Oklahoma City Barons in their American Hockey League playoff run. The Barons will be playing a game seven against the Utica Comets to advance to the western finals tomorrow night.

And don’t think that Nurse hasn’t been a huge part of the Barons success in the post season. Their goaltender, Richard Bachman, has been on fire, but his defense has been great in front of him as well. Nurse played on the second defense pairing in game six and they should continue to lean on him for playing time, especially with their top defenseman Brandon Davidson injured.

Obviously, the Oilers are still in a rebuilding mode. Connor McDavid will arrive soon, and they still have a slew of former top round picks (Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov). They have a new general manager in Peter Chiarelli and a new head coach in Todd McClellan, both who came from respective winning environments where their teams contended for a top playoff seed every year.

Will they allow Nurse to play, to make the mistakes he needs to make to learn? Or will they be cautious with their young defenseman? Chiarelli’s Boston Bruins typically took a cuatious approach with young players, but will that translate to a team with different needs?

Leon Draisaitl was the third overall pick to the Oilers last season. He split time between his WHL team in Kelowna and the Oilers. He was just named the MVP of the WHL tournament as his team moves on to the Memorial Cup tournament. There have been rumors of the team moving the young German center, and Toronto has shown interest. If they keep him around, however, it adds even more to the young roster they have.

The Oilers have a lot on their plate, but as fans have been clamoring for, Nurse should see NHL time sooner rather than later.

More from Frozen Futures