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Will Darnell Nurse make the team out of training camp?

Since the Oilers training camp is officially under way the question is posed: Will Darnell Nurse make the team out of camp?

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After an impressive fourth OHL season with the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds that saw him score at almost a point per game rate and win a gold medal as a member of the World Junior club, Darnell Nurse is poised to have a shot at making this year's Edmonton Oilers roster out of camp. His two game experiment at the start of last year that saw him play with Andrew Ference against the Kings and Justin Schultz against the Coyotes was uneventful at best.

In general, the beginning of last season was a complete joke and Nurse probably shouldn't of been caught up in the middle of it. Dallas Eakins is solely to blame for this but none the less, he got his two games and was sent right back to Sault St. Marie where he tore it up as per expectations.

He comes into this year's training camp after a strong offseason. During an interview with Emily Hadler of Sportsnet, Nurse was asked about what he was looking forward to about heading to Oilers training camp and he said:

The exciting part for me is that I put in a lot of work this summer. It’s going to be a lot of fun for me to just go out there and play and do what I can in camp and hopefully that takes me where it needs to take me. I’m just looking forward to putting together everything that I’ve worked towards this summer and I want to make the most of it.

Darnell Nurse "stood out like the evening star on a still, desert night" during this year's rookie games. There is no denying the stardom that soon awaits him as he clearly has all the necessary tools and traits to be a top pairing defenceman one day in the NHL. Everyone talks about the comparison to Chris Pronger, and that's not hard to ignore. His improved skating and play with the puck is what impressed me most out of the Penticton/U of A games.

Nurse has that "take no prisoners" attitude that the Oilers have sorely lacked for years.

After watching his complete domination of the Young Stars tournament I feel there is a really good shot for him to make this year's roster out of camp. The catch 22 is that there are eight other defenceman vying for a spot on this year's Oilers roster. Andrej Sekera, Nikita Nikitin, Justin Schultz, Mark Fayne, Andrew Ference, Oscar Klefbom, Eric Gryba and Griffin Reinhart all are battling with Nurse for seven defensive spots.

So who is on the outside looking in? Ference, Gryba, Nurse and Reinhart are really all battling for the bottom two positions. If I recall correctly, I remember Bob Stauffer mentioning on Oilers Now over the summer there was a possibility that Ference could only play 50 to 60 games this season which could allow one of the other three aforementioned players to slide into the lineup.

The truth is that there are tough decisions to be made and Todd McLellan said he wants to trim the roster quicklyBruce McCurdy said that Reinhart looks leaner and quicker than he ever remembers. This defensive group isn't the best in the NHL by far, but it is a slight improvement of the defensemen of past.

There is also a distinct possibility that Nurse could start the season with the Bakersfield Condors and get called up at some point in the season. The next few weeks will prove to be interesting.