3 Players the Edmonton Oilers should have drafted instead of Darnell Nurse

The struggles of defenseman Darnell Nurse in this year's postseason begs the question on whether the Edmonton Oilers made the right call on draft day. Find out which players the Oilers should have taken instead of Nurse.
Dallas Stars v Edmonton Oilers - Game Three
Dallas Stars v Edmonton Oilers - Game Three / Leila Devlin/GettyImages
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Selecting Another Center

The 2013 NHL Entry Draft presented the Edmonton Oilers with a critical decision: select a defenseman or a center to bolster their lineup. With the first overall pick in the previous year's draft, the Oilers had already secured center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, leading them to prioritize defensive depth. Thus, when the opportunity arose, they chose defenseman Darnell Nurse with the seventh overall pick.

At the time, Nurse's selection was met with optimism and excitement from fans and analysts alike. Many envisioned him evolving into the physical, shutdown defenseman that Edmonton sorely needed, a cornerstone player to anchor their blue line for years to come. However, as the years have unfolded and Nurse's struggles in the playoffs have become apparent, questions have arisen about whether the Oilers made the right choice.

One player often cited in hindsight is Bo Horvat, chosen two picks after Nurse by the Vancouver Canucks. Horvat, a talented center, has blossomed into a key contributor for the Canucks, showcasing his scoring touch, defensive acumen, and leadership qualities. His presence in the Oilers' lineup could have provided them with a formidable one-two punch at center alongside Nugent-Hopkins, laying a solid foundation for the team's future success.

By selecting Horvat, the Oilers would have addressed their need for depth down the middle, potentially alleviating the pressure on their goaltenders and defensive corps. With two promising young centers anchoring the lineup, Edmonton could have focused on building a more balanced and cohesive team, rather than relying heavily on individual talents to carry the load.

Of course, hindsight is always 20/20, and it's easy to second-guess decisions in retrospect. The Oilers made their choice based on the information and assessments available to them at the time, and while it's natural to wonder "what if," dwelling on past decisions serves little purpose in the present. Instead, the focus should be on evaluating the current roster, identifying areas for improvement, and charting a course for future success.