Darnell Nurse – The Next Ones: NHL 2013 Draft Prospect Profile

He’s big.  He’s hard-nosed.  He’s intelligent.  He’s tough.  He’s skilled.  He’s an effortless skater.  He’s a premier defensive defenseman prospect.  He’s Darnell Nurse of the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds.

Nurse has been a standout on the Greyhounds in his 2nd year in the OHL.  He has displayed a wide range of skills this season, from shutting down opponents in the defensive zone to setting up chances and putting the puck in the net in the offensive zone.

Darnell Nurse THW Close-Up:

Date of birth: 2/4/1995

Place of birth: Hamilton, Ontario

Ht: 6’3″     Wt: 185 lbs

Shoots: Left

Position: D

NHL Draft Eligibility: 2013

Twitter@drtwofive

THW The Next Ones Rankings (January 2013): 13

Darnell Nurse - 2013 NHL draft eligible prospect

Darnell Nurse climbing the 2013 NHL draft rankings (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Other Rankings:

THW Warm Room Rankings (April): 7

ISS (May): 6

Future Considerations: 5

Craig Button: 6

Consensus aggregate of several services (NHL Numbers): 8

CS Final Rankings for North American skaters: 4

***

[NHL 2013 Draft Guide – The Next Ones Draft Headquarters: Your quintessential draft resource]

***

The Beast on the Back End

He’s big.  He’s hard-nosed.  He’s intelligent.  He’s tough.  He’s skilled.  He’s an effortless skater.  He’s a premier defensive defenseman prospect.  He’s Darnell Nurse of the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds.

Nurse has been a standout on the Greyhounds in his 2nd year in the OHL.  He has displayed a wide range of skills this season, from shutting down opponents in the defensive zone to setting up chances and putting the puck in the net in the offensive zone.

Scouts have had their eye on him since last season when he showcased his defensive prowess.  This year, his offensive totals have skyrocketed and people are starting to talk about Nurse as sure-fire top 10 selection in June’s draft.

The sophomore OHL defenseman has stood out on the blueline as arguably the best shutdown defenseman in the draft.  His mammoth size, albeit thin build, certainly lends a hand to his physicality, but his skating is one of his best attributes in terms of getting back into the play and being in the right place at the right time.

Other big defensemen like Nikita Zadorov and Rasmus Ristolainen have pretty big shots, but Nurse’s isn’t all that heavy.  But his shot was never his bread and butter.  His hockey smarts have gone a long way in his development from last season to this season.

He’s makes effective passes and is capable of moving the puck up ice.  He can sense when to make a play or when to clear the puck out of harm’s way.  Darnell’s ability to separate forwards from the puck is uncanny and his play along the boards is second to none.

Get ready to hear his name called early.  Darnell Nurse will be quite a handful to deal with for any NHL team that passes him over in the draft.

Nurse and Lazar exchange pleasantries during the Top Prospects Game [photo: David Chan]

Nurse and Lazar exchange pleasantries during the Top Prospects Game [photo: David Chan]

Where Will He End Up In June:

Darnell Nurse is going to be a Top 10 pick for a team who really needs a strong defensive presence.

Scout’s Honor:

“Nurse became really effective at keeping his shot low, getting it through and on net, and generating opportunities for rebounds and tip-ins in front of the net. He also effectively utilizes a good wrist shot and release when he doesn’t have time to load up the slapshot.  Nurse has also improved his puckhandling skills, and shows more poise and patience in controlling the play at the blueline.  He walks the line well, and uses his lateral mobility to open up shooting and passing lanes.  With good vision, and improving passing skills, he is developping his ability as a powerplay quarterback, but at this point he is more of a trigger man, than a guy who controls the play at the blueline…He has excellent edgework, pivots, and agility.  This allows him to transition quickly and cover all areas fo the ice.  He can change direction very quickly, allowing him to close space in an instant, and throw big hits.  He has good speed moving forward and backwards, and an above average first step and acceleration….Nurse has terrific size and uses it effectively in his own end.  He’s a big hitter who can strike fear into opposing players as they come down his end of the ice.  He wins board battles and effectively leans on opposing players and clears the front of the net.  His mobility makes him very difficult to beat one on one off  the rush.  He uses his size and an active stick to cut down passing lanes, and willingly sacrifices his body blocking shots.”

Ben Kerr – Last Word On Sports

“Huge and highly mobile defenceman is just starting to tap into his massive potential. He’s already a shutdown defender who can physically dominate games down low. Keeps the crease clear and shows excellent defensive awareness and positioning. Has a long wingspan and plays with an active stick, clogging passing lanes. Closes gaps quickly, angles men to corners, and has quick feet to contain smaller, shifty forwards. Strong in coverage. Doesn’t activate much yet in the offensive end, but makes rocket outlet passes and has some offensive upside.”

Red Line Report

“Nurse is a big lanky kid who skates very well, has good feet, good straight-line speed and excellent lateral agility. His balance and acceleration, while already decent, will likely get much better as he adds more muscle and fills out his thin frame. He was strong positional and good at controlling his gaps. He has a strong stick that is always in passing lanes. He showed that strong defensive zone play in his rookie OHL season as he would play physical, pinning opponents to the boards and clearing his crease, but this season he is adding an offensive element.”

Aaron Vickers – Future Considerations

Statistics:

Bio/Interview(s)/Links:

THW’s David O’Connor featured article on Darnell Nurse

Nurse’s Interview with NHL.com

The Hockey News feature on Darnell Nurse

Interview with Neate Sager of Buzzing the Net

International Tournaments:

Darnell played for Team Ontario in the World U17 Hockey Challenge where he had one goal and two assists in five games.  He also played for Team Canada in the at the U18 World Junior Championships.

ETA:

1-2 years

Risk/Reward Analysis:

Risk: 1/5  Reward: 5/5

NHL Potential:

Top pairing shutdown defenseman

Strengths:

Skating

Agility

Physical play

Poke check

Poise

Hockey sense/IQ

First pass out of the zone

Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:

Adding more muscle

Shot from the point

Fantasy Hockey Potential:

Offensive: 5/10  Defensive: 8/10

NHL Player Comparison:

– I’m not so sure that Nurse’s offensive game will be able to translate at the NHL level, therefore I’d liken him to players like Brooks Orpik or Dan Girardi.  If his offensive game flourished in the NHL, he could be on par with Niklas Kronwall.

– Hall of Fame comparison: Scott Stevens

Video(s):

***

THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph

Follow Shawn Reznik on Twitter: @ShawnTHW

Shawn Reznik

Shawn Reznik

Shawn started at The Hockey Writers in 2011 covering junior hockey/NCAA/European leagues for the site. In 2013, he became the Lead Writer for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Shawn Reznik
Hate soccer, but this made me laugh my ass off. https://t.co/Zho2uSKoAD - 2 hours ago

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required Email Address * Name Email Format html text mobile