The rumor mill has the Edmonton Oilers sniffing around the Chicago Blackhawks in hopes of acquiring an upgrade to their defense.
The Edmonton Oilers are riding an amazing run of play recently, but they’re in tough as they are down three top-four defenders. Oscar Klefbom will be out until late-January/early-February after having surgery on a broken finger sustained vs. Colorado.
Kris Russell has been placed on the IR with that is suspected to be a groin problem according to Oilers play-by-play man Bob Stauffer. And of course, Andrej Sekera isn’t slated to return until January approximately.
They may need some help sooner than later, and rumors have it the Oilers are looking at a former playoff MVP.
At the moment, head coach Ken Hitchcock has increased the responsibilities (and time-on-ice) for six defenders. Darnell Nurse has been slotted in on the top-pairing with stud stay-at-home defender Adam Larsson. Summer signings Kevin Gravel and Battlin’ Matt Benning are now the Oilers’ second pairing. This leaves Jason Garrison, Chris Wideman, and the freshly re-called Caleb Jones to battle it out for the remaining two spots on the bottom-pairing.
“I think what we’re finding out with Nurse is that the more he plays, the better he plays. I think he’s calmer with the puck, he sees the ice better, and he lets the puck work for him.” – Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock (source)
My feeling is that Nurse will be fine being partnered up with Larsson until Klefbom returns. They have a history of playing together that started last season after Klefbom went on the IR. My concern comes beyond that pairing on the depth chart.