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Darnell Nurse Profile

Darnell Nurse
Ht/Wt: 6' 4"/190 lbs
Position: D
Team: Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

Darnell Nurse's Player Profile

Strengths – 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.

Weaknesses – Nurse can produce offensively in the OHL but I’m not sure how much will translate to the NHL, if and when he gets there. His shot isn’t all that impressive and he doesn’t have that ‘wow’ factor to his game. I’d like to see him fill his frame out more, too, but that should happen over time.

Career Projection – Nurse has the potential to be a top notch shutdown defenseman who can dominate given his size, physicality and skating ability. Despite his mediocre offensive abilities and lack of a booming shot most defenseman his size have, I think he could become a top-pairing defenseman if he is developed properly.
Submitted by: Todd Cordell of The Hockey Guys - May 16th 2013

Nurse had a considerable amount of hype at the beginning of the season, and he has exceeded all expectations. He is a gifted physical player who has all the natural tools a scout could want from a defenseman. He has slowly begun to emerge as a two-way player, but his value comes from his high-end work in his own end. Nurse is a tall defender with an aggressive edge and the strength to consistently push his checks off pucks. He has above-average mobility, especially considering his larger size. With his wingspan, he is able to make a multitude of plays in the defensive end. I have heard previous concerns from scouts about his offensive upside, but he took a step forward in that element this season. He will not be a dynamic offensive threat, but he can move the puck at an above-average level, and join the rush on occasion. He projects as a point man on a second power play unit, while logging the tough defensive minutes. Nurse's next level of progression will have to come from his below-average shot.
Submitted by: Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus. Click here for Pronman's draft rankings

After being the 3rd overall pick in the 2011 OHL Priority Selection, there were high expectations on Darnell Nurse as a 16-year-old rookie with Sault Ste. Marie last year. While the defender showed flashes of his upside, big things were expected in Year 2. As they say, “so far, so good.”

Nurse is a very athletic defenseman with high-end skating ability and all-around skill. Defensively he’s physical and nasty at times, and with the puck, he makes great outlet passes and has developed into a strong PP player. At this point, Nurse needs to continue to show consistency and prove that he’s able to overcome the occasional gaffe that might leave one scratching their head.
Submitted by: The Scouting Report

A steady offensive-minded defenceman, Darnell Nurse has not suffered a sophomore slump by any means in Sault Ste. Marie. If anything, he has just gotten better. On a team already employing Ryan Sproul, the fact that Nurse has come into his second season with the Greyhounds and has been as offensively productive as he has is just remarkable. He and Sproul are the key cogs offensively on the blueline in the Soo, complemented perfectly by captain Colin Miller and Alex Gudbranson. It is simply amazing to see that he has gone from getting ten points in 53 games last year, to having over 300% more at the same time this season, including ten goals. With Sproul graduating at the completion of the 2012-13 season to the Detroit Red Wings organization, Nurse's surge in offensive production is going to be heavily relied upon next year in Sault Ste. Marie. The coaching staff on the Greyhounds have already found that he has stellar leadership beyond his years, naming him an alternate captain. Nurse can also play quite physically, using his 6'5" frame to his advantage, indicative by getting into a fight with Curtis Lazar at the Top Prospects Game. If anything, though, he does need some filling out; he is less than 200 pounds at the moment. Nurse, however, is getting a lot of respect around the league and he is going to be a star in the OHL for a while.
Submitted by: Margann Laurissa - updated Feb. 4th

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