Darnell Nurse, first round draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers, has completed his postseason with the OHL Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. His fifty points in sixty-four games played in the regular season were quality numbers. His eight points in nine post season games played, again, is very good quality. At only nineteen years old, Nurse is a dandy of a prospect. Gernat, Marincin, Klefbom, Musil, Nurse – all have some potential for various reasons, and thus the Oilers organization (and fans) have been keeping tabs on Nurse’s play because he is just so darned important.
A slew of offensive prospects have hit the Oklahoma City Barons via ATO’s in the last couple of days. Collegiate and junior players, once their seasons have ended, are encouraged to find ATO’s in the pros that allow them to just barely dip their toe in the ranks of “big boy” hockey. It has been rumored, in various locations, that Nurse might join the Barons in the coming days.
Despite not being on the roster when the trade deadline ended, he is eligible for Barons postseason play simply because he has signed an ATO.
But where might he fit in? Good question.
The defensive pairs are the one really constant thing for Nelson over the last two weeks, minus a tiny wrinkle. Here are the most recent weekend pairs:
Martin Gernat – Taylor Fedun
Brandon Davidson – Brad Hunt
Jordan Oesterle / Joey Leach – David Musil
The bottom six feature David Musil almost exclusively alongside newcomer Oesterle or Leach. They get more minutes than most bottom six, but are less offensively sound than the top four. Gernat, Fedun, Davidson, Hunt are all willing to insert themselves in the offense, and are willing to carry the puck through neutral zone. They are puck movers by definition, something that Todd Nelson applauds.
Nurse is a completely different athletic animal. He’s a shutdown blue line player, but with a whip-smart tendency towards offense. He gives you the best of both worlds. Had he played multiple games in the pro ranks up until now, he’s likely be a top paired defender. With little to no practice in the AHL, he will probably nestle in the top four. If Nelson is even remotely gun shy about his potential, he’ll protect him on the bottom minute pairing.
This, of course, is what if because nothing has officially been announced yet.
Will he or won’t he, might be the more dire question at the moment, but it doesn’t hurt to explore his value to an already blooming Barons squad. I’m anxious to see him play.