First and foremost, please join us in welcoming Copper and Blue Alumnus and all-round good guy Ryan Batty back into the fold around here! It’s a big get for us and we’re thrilled to have him back.
Now I’d like to dive into the idea that Darnell Nurse might be an Olympic caliber defenseman today. Briefly, don’t worry. It is Friday, after all.
A couple of days ago, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun wrote an article about the difficulty of trying to assemble Canada’s Olympic team. He included a mystery coach’s take to agree or disagree with his own choices. LeBrun’s D looked like this (lol):
And here’s where it gets a little spicy:
“I don’t quite understand some of what you did here. For me, two guys I would have on the team for sure are Darnell Nurse and Colton Parayko. Size, mobility, range, log the puck, defend: They got everything. I don’t know, is Aaron Ekblad that good? I agree you got to have Doughty there because he’s got the experience and that’s going to be really, really important. But Nurse and Parayko have to be on. So I would want to have a real look at Shea Theodore, Ekblad and Josh Morrissey versus Nurse and Parayko and Shea Weber. Nurse and Parayko could play all night.
- Mystery Coach
Which, obviously, caught some people’s attention:
Is it really that bad? Well, yes:
Hm, but maybe there are other models that show Nurse better?
For the curious, Darnell Nurse is an (apparent Olympian-calibre) offence-only big-minute defenceman who has benefitted enormously from spending a /lot/ of time with McDavid and Draisaitl. #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/KKiGYBFpvS— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) February 2, 2021
Hm, maybe not.
All of this is to say, IMO, Darnell Nurse isn’t an Olympic-level defender. Maybe for Team Austria or something, but not Team Canada. There are strong cases to be made for him not even being the best Canadian on his pairing. By season’s end, I could see Evan Bouchard jumping ahead, too. I’m not saying it’s a guarantee, but it’s certainly not impossible either.
My point in bringing this up is that, yet again, it seems Darnell Nurse’s reputation exceeds him, and because of that, the Oilers might want to explore a deal before they’re going to have to re-sign him for Olympic money when he’s more like an IIHF World Championships guy.
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