Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse was a long shot to make the team after being selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. After all, they have seven blueliners signed to one-way contracts, not including Justin Schultz or Anton Belov.
Still, Nurse had a great camp and managed to stick around deep into the preseason. He had an assist and a plus-two rating in 19:32 minutes of playing time in Edmonton’s 5-3 victory on Tuesday before the team announced that he would be returned to the OHL Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
“It sucks,” Nurse told Inside the Oilers. “There’s nothing fun about it but (the Oilers) have the best plan for me and my development and I’m going to go back and dominate my league and hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to play in World Juniors.”
Although he has to be disappointed, Nurse also recognizes what he accomplished. He doesn’t have any regrets when it comes to his on ice performance over the last couple weeks.
The 18-year-old is one of the Oilers’ most promising prospects and given that Edmonton only has two defensemen signed to one-way contracts beyond 2013-14, it wouldn’t be surprising if the team leaves an opening so that he has a shot to earn a spot next season.