Updated: January 11, 2018 at 2:04 am by Lowetide

nurse capture1

One of the subjects I see Oilers fans talk about at length is the protected list for the expansion draft next summer. History tells us that we are far away from knowing the actual list—the 2016-17 season will have an enormous impact on the decision. Even with that understood, I am not sure we can be certain about the names who will be protected on defense. Darnell Nurse (in photo by Mark Williams) is not eligible for the expansion draft, but could have a major impact on the final protected list.



Rob Vollman’s graph gives us a fine breakdown of the youngsters on this team:

  • Oscar Klefbom is in a world of his own.
  • Brandon Davidson playing second pairing and doing very well at it (blue bubble=good).
  • Darnell Nurse and Griffin Reinhart in the same area of the graph and struggling (red and brown bubble=struggles)

Nurse—ineligible for the expansion draft—and Reinhart, who is a similar player, would be applying for the same job at the NHL level over the next 5-7 years (before free agency). Brandon Davidson? He has graduated to a higher level.


Brandon Davidson is a more substantial offensive player too, although the 5×4 is misleading (two points in 22 minutes). That said, Davidson should probably get increased time on the power play next season—just in case that 22 minutes is actual ability.

Reinhart and Nurse performed at about the same level, so one would be tempted to suggest that leaving Griffin Reinhart exposed is the right play. There are two reasons why that isn’t necessarily what will happen.

Peter Chiarelli acquired Reinhart at great cost, doubt very much the organization would be thrilled at giving him up at the expansion draft. The other item? Age:

  • Brandon Davidson is 24 years, 358 days.
  • Griffin Reinhart is 22 years, 202 days.
  • Darnell Nurse is 21 years, 191 days.

Things can change a lot in one year. Brandon Davidson, next summer, will have one year left on a very reasonable contract and be (potentially) two years from UFA status. Right now, Davidson over Reinhart looks like a no brainer. A year from now? God only knows.