Is Darnell Nurse on the Trading Block?

A tweet from famous Oilers trade gossip monger, Tracy Lane, sent the Oilogosphere into a tailspin late last night and it’ll continue into the day, I’m sure. But please forgive me if this post is all over the place. I wanted to get it out as fast as I could. I’ll let the Lowetides, Willises, and the Gregors do it up right (as they usually do).

Until then…

I don’t remember the last time that this account hit the nail on the head with the rumors. I think Lowetide said back in 2011 but every year she comes up with some mindbenders that just twist Oilers Nation into oblivion. And then we write on it…

Just as I wrote this week, the Kris Russell wants $4.5Mx4yrs to stay in Edmonton, and we know that Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan like the guy but do they like him enough to keep Darnell Nurse on the 3rd pairing or enough to play Russell on the 3rd pairing?

Is Darnell Nurse’s development stagnating?

Well, it’s hard to use this last season as a gauge because he only played half of it after blocking a shot in Winnipeg and busting up his foot. An injury that set him back nearly three months.

If we just look at his 5v5 numbers over the last three seasons, there’s progression.

Prorate this year’s stats and he’s looking well on his way to becoming a good 2nd-pairing defenseman if not this season, then by 2018/19 for sure.


Might the offense be coming along a bit too slow? Is his defensive game improving at a fast enough pace for Chiarelli and McLellan? If this rumor has any legs, perhaps these issues could be something that is concerning the Oilers brass.

What kind of player would be an acceptable return for Nurse?

I know there are some Oilers fans that believe he should only be traded in a deal for Erik Karlsson or Drew Doughty. That’s hilarious but typical of the Oilogosphere which doesn’t exclude me.

What about Matt Dumba? Dealing for him is more or less a lateral move except Dumba offers a more electric style and he’s right-handed (it’s a cannon), but he might not be as good at defending, which says something because Nurse isn’t that great in that department at this point in his career.

Dumba isn’t exempt from the expansion draft though and Nurse is. So there’s that. I mean, would you do that deal and protect Dumba only to lose a Kassian or a Letestu as well. I wouldn’t at all. Making any deal that would require the Oilers to expose a Kassassination or Letestes should only be completed if the return is of significant value. Such as…

Nurse and Eberle for Wayne Simmonds? (I wish… It’s not like Philly needs anymore good young dmen.)

You should really check out Bruce McCurdy’s year-end review of Darnell Nurse if you’d like a more in-depth look at his season. He verbalizes it much better than I’m doing it now. Here’s a taste,

“Overall, Nurse showed a measurable improvement, connecting for new career highs in goals (5) and points (11) despite playing 25 fewer games than his freshman campaign. Modest numbers to be sure, with the low assist numbers (just 1 primary helper) leaving plenty of questions as to how much this player will ever score at the NHL level. Let’s just say there is plenty of room for offensive growth.

The same can be said at the defensive end. Nurse did improve his traditional plus/minus from last year’s -13 to even, but that is in the context of a team that improved by 79 goals. He ranked last among regular defencemen in both shots against and goals against per 60 minutes at even strength, and doubled down by being last in the group in those same two significant categories on the penalty kill. Not a great combination, something that bears watching as he enters the final year of his ELC next season.”

Now look, I’m all for giving Nurse until he’s finished his second contract with the team. He’s 6’4″, 220lbs and all of 22 years old. I love that he plays an old-school game and last season, when he rushed the puck up the ice, I was very entertained. But those hiccups vs. the Ducks in the playoffs are tough.His entry-level deal will be done next summer and I’m not sure if the Oilers (or Nurse’s camp for that matter) would go longer than another 3yr deal.

I believe that he really is a Peter Chiarelli-type of defender, in the same vein as an Adam McQuaid perhaps but a better skater. So, I can’t see Chiarelli moving him. Nurse’s entry-level deal will be done next summer and I’m not sure if the Oilers (or Nurse’s camp for that matter) would go longer than another 3-year deal. Then again, they doubled-down on Oscar Klefbom when the time came and it’s paying major dividends and if the Oilers are okay with Nurse developing at this pace, maybe they could get him on a long-term deal on the cheap.

If you’re still on the fence, I present you with this:

What do you think about this? Is it all BS or might there be some legs to this little rumor from Tracy Lane? Let us know in the comments below!

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Beer League Hero Written by:

I’m the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I’ve been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I’ll never leave my Oilers, no matter what!

They’re with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!

  • LesMc

    I’ve never heard of this “Tracy”. Sounds like another Calgary troll like Oil Spilly or FlamesFan88. Nothing important to see here folks, move along.

    • Beer League Hero

      She’s been around for sometime now. I think there was even an article written in the Edmonton Sun or journal back in the day about her…

  • Joe

    BLH, why are you writing this? Good grief.

    • Beer League Hero

      I think that there is something to this. Not much mind you but if Russell is re-signed, where does that leave nurse? 3rd pairing for 3 more years?