3 Oilers Who Need To Have Break Out Series Against The Florida Panthers

The Edmonton Oilers start their final step to a Stanley Cup. Here are three players who need to step up.
Edmonton Oilers left wing Evander Kane (91)
Edmonton Oilers left wing Evander Kane (91) / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Darnell Nurse

There is no doubt that Darnell Nurse is a pivotal figure for the Edmonton Oilers' defense. If the Oilers aspire to win this series, Nurse must not only be one of their top defensemen but also one of their best overall players. So far in the playoffs, Nurse’s performance has been middling.

Throughout the first 18 games of the playoffs, Nurse has recorded 3 assists. However, the statistic drawing the most attention from Oilers fans is his plus/minus rating, which stands at an alarming -13. This is the lowest on the team, with the next closest players, Warren Foegele and Vincent Desharnais, both at -8.

It’s important to note that neither Foegele nor Desharnais were in the lineup for the Oilers at the end of their series against the Stars. While it’s unlikely both players will be benched for the entirety of the current series, their absence highlights the coach’s belief in Nurse’s critical role despite his struggles. This decision underscores that Nurse is an integral part of the team’s defensive strategy.

For the Oilers to advance, Nurse needs to elevate his game and become a standout performer. He has the potential to disrupt the Panthers' offensive flow and, if he can contribute more on the offensive end, it would significantly bolster the Oilers' chances of capturing the Stanley Cup.

Beyond his on-ice responsibilities, Nurse is also a leader off the ice. In this series, he needs to step up and lead by example during gameplay. We have witnessed his capabilities in past performances, particularly in the latter games against the Dallas Stars. His teammates have shown their support, but now Nurse must validate their trust with tangible results on the ice.

Darnell Nurse's role is crucial for the Oilers’ success. His defensive skills and potential offensive contributions are essential. Nurse’s ability to rise to the occasion could very well determine the outcome of the series and, ultimately, the Oilers’ championship aspirations.