Sunday, July 20, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Days - Edmonton Oilers

Shout-out to the guys in Edmonton who show me a ton of love (Lowdown with Lowetide, The Pipeline Show). Here's the Oilers review.

Darnell Nurse - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Honestly, at times this year he looked like a man among boys. There were quite a few shifts of his this year where he could do pretty much whatever he wanted on the ice and no one could stop him. He established himself as a dominant two-way defender. He was aggressive in leading the rush and jumping up into the play when he needed to, but showed restraint and the ability to make a good breakout pass when needed to as well. Defensively, he consistently went up against the opposition's best and did an admirable job. I think his zone coverage will continue to need to evolve as he becomes a pro player, but he's a physical force out there and will learn quick. He has the ability to squash the transition game because of how well he moves, gets into passing lanes and asserts himself by keeping forwards to the outside. What I really liked from Nurse was his increased intensity level in the corners and in front of the net this year. It was very difficult for the opposition to win battles against him. Quite frankly, I think he's ready for the NHL. He needs to learn to adjust to the speed of the pro game and to gain confidence at that level. I don't think there's much more that the OHL can teach him. If he returns, I think it will be a mistake and the Oilers will risk him developing some bad habits out of boredom (the way Alex Pietrangelo did in his 19 year old season).

Kyle Platzer - Owen Sound Attack
A trade to Owen Sound didn't do a whole lot for Platzer this year, as he struggled to be a consistent offensive contributor with both London and the Attack. At this point, he's a tweener. And an undersized one at that. He hasn't shown a lot to suggest that he's got the skill level to be a top 6 player at the next level. And he doesn't have the body type or the aggressive nature to be a quality checker. Going into next year he'll be fighting for a contract with Edmonton. He's either going to have to gain a ton of condidence in his offensive abilities, get stronger and really take his game to the next level offensively...or he'll need to round out his game by becoming more of a factor physically, on the forecheck, and defensively. He'll get his chance in Owen Sound as they'll be expecting him to play a top 6 role next year.


Anonymous said...

Couple of sports guy disagree with you re: Nurse

Brock Otten said...

That's perfectly fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Nowhere did I say that he dominated every shift. I said that he dominated quite a few shifts. There's a difference there.

Bottom line is that if he dominated quite a few shifts last year, the projection would be for him to dominate even more as a 19 year old. And that raises the question? Do you want him dominating the competition? Quite frankly, I'd rather my top prospect be challenged. It's only through adversity and challenge that we improve.

Pietrangelo is the perfect case of that. Jason Gregor can throw stats out as he wishes, but Pietrangelo was not terrific in that 19 year old year with Barrie (a year which I saw him a lot). He DID develop bad habits that year and in 08-09 with Niagara. He was making bad pinches, had developed a bit of lazyness away from the puck and in returning to his own end and times looked disinterested when the puck wasn't on his stick.

Did Pietrangelo turn out alright? Hell yeah he did. He's one of the top defenseman in the NHL already at a young age. But his final two years in junior, where he bounced around the NHL, and the OHL were not good years for him in the OHL.

Each individual prospect requires a different developmental path because no two people/players are the same psychologically.

The coaching staff in Sault Ste. Marie is top notch, among the best in the league. But what I'm simply saying is that I think he's learned all he can from the OHL. The coaching staff can't control the competition he'll be facing off against. Nurse is physically ready for the NHL. And I think he's mentally ready for it too. One of the most composed and mature kids in the O.

Nowhere in the article did I say that if the Oilers send him back to the OHL he'll be ruined and will never develop into an NHL player. I said I think it would be a mistake and I stick by that. I think he's ready for a new challenge.

Brock Otten said...

I should add...

Yes, Nurse does have some things to work on. He's by no means the perfect player? But who is.

His ability to read the play, both offensively and defensively, is the biggest area of improvement needed from him.

But in the OHL, he can find so much success without having that particular trait, because of his skill set. In the NHL, he'd be forced to learn and forced to improve. That's just my two cents.

If he comes back to the OHL next year, dominates, wins a WJC Gold, wins Defenseman of the Year. That would all be fine and dandy. It's not going to screw him up. BUT, going into 2015/2016, when he goes to make Edmonton, he'll still have to learn how to play to the speed of the NHL and improve his decision making ability. Why not do it next year?