2013 NHL Draft Prospect Profile #7: Darnell Nurse

The Ontario Hockey League

Our next Draft Prospect Profile takes a look at Darnell Nurse of the Soo Greyhounds, possibly one of the best "pure" D-men to appear in this year's draft class.

Darnell Nurse

Position: Defense
Team: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Age: 18
Date of Birth: February 4, 1995
Place of Birth: Hamilton, ON
Ht: 6' 5" Wt: 192 lbs.
Shoots: Left

Regular Season Stats

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

68

12

29

41

15

116

Playoff Stats

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

6

1

3

4

-1

6

Another player who is flying a bit under the radar in the US, Darnell Nurse is gathering a bit of a following from Canadian Junior fans for his physical, no-quit, two-way play, size, and willingness to drop the gloves. Quite a few scouting reports have him listed as the top defensive d-man in the draft, and fans in Philly are interested in the big D-man because of his Uncle, former Eagles QB Donovan McNabb. Listed as the #4 North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, don't be surprised if he sees his name called in the top five.

Scouting Reports

Darnell Nurse is an excellent defensive defenseman, and is arguably the best defenseman in this year's class when it comes to taking care of his own zone. He's a very strong skater despite his tall, lanky body. Nurse isn't shy about using his size and is very good at shutting opponents down, whether it be by using his body or his lanky arms and stick to poke the puck off the opposing player. Nurse is a very hard worker and doesn't back down from anyone. He uses his big frame as you would expect someone his size would and he's not afraid to drop the mitts, either. He's incredibly smart, positionally sound and really understands the game. One of the best aspects of Nurse's game is that he doesn't force things and allows the game to come to him. He almost always goes for the high percentage plays, which is somewhat rare for a young defenseman who has as much talent as he does. While Nurse isn't known for his offensive game, he can produce if given the opportunities and should be able to help generate some offense at the next level. Nurse owns strong leadership abilities as well which he should be credited for.

-The Hockey Guys.net

Nurse uses his 6-4 frame to his complete advantage, amassing 116 PIM in 68 games this year, even getting into a fight during a top prospects game. Nurse still has room to fill out his frame, and scouts still say he has some offensive upside to tap into, so his rise to the top of the draft boards is potential-based.

Nurse patterns his game after Shea Weber, with Chris Pronger being a name that also gets thrown out in comparisons, both of which are very legit. Pronger seems closer; the first page of highlights on youtube.com were all fights, and one highlight video, which was comprised of all fights and one quick goal.

He has a very in your face, lead-by-example type of player, as Nurse is very exuberant and comes to life after every goal and fight, and was rewarded so with being given an ‘A' on his jersey.

-The Farm Club.net

Why He'd Be A Good Fit In Columbus:

Even though the Blue Jackets have some strong depth in their pipeline, Nurse projects to be a top shutdown player, which is something every team would like to have in their system. The biggest stand out for Columbus has to be his attitude - with the "no quit" and "relentless" tags attached to this powerful young blueliner, I think you're seeing someone who will bring exactly the kind of mentality to the ice every day that John Davidson and Jarmo Kekalainen are trying to build here. He's also the perfect kind of player to embrace and be energized by the challenges of playing against teams like the Rangers, Flyers, and Penguins...who, if you've somehow forgotten, are our new neighbors.

That said, the team DOES have Ryan Murray, Dalton Prout, David Savard, and several other young D prospects making their way towards the NHL, so I can see the club making a move if he drops into the lower half of the top ten, but perhaps not in the top five.

Darnell Nurse In Action:


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