2013 NHL Draft Profile: Darnell Nurse

The latest in a series on top prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft looks at defenseman Darnell Nurse of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League.

Darnell NurseDarnell Nurse

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-4
Weight: 185 pounds
Shoots: Left
2012-13 Team: Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Born: February 4, 1995
Birthplace: Hamilton, Ontario

Draft Rankings

Publication Rank
NHL Central Scouting 4th North American skaters
International Scouting Services 6th all skaters
Red Line Report 8th overall
The Hockey News 8th overall
TSN 9th overall
McKeen’s Hockey 8th overall
Hockey Prospectus 11th overall

2012-13 Season

Ranked second among Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) defensemen in scoring with 41 points (12 goals, 29 assists) in 68 games. Led team in penalty minutes (116) and ranked second in fighting majors (6). Picked up 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) in 6 playoff games. Ranked third best penalty killer in OHL Western Conference Coaches Poll. Named OHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year.


Won gold medal with Team Canada at 2012 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka … Won bronze medal with Canada at 2012 U18 World Championship. … Registered 10 points (1 goal, 9 assists) in 53 games during rookie season with Sault Ste. Marie of OHL. … His father, Richard, was a wide receiver in the Canadian Football League. … His uncle is former NHL quarterback Donavan McNabb.


“Not only is Nurse an excellent 1 on 1 defender but he adds an intense mean streak to put fear in the opposition. He shows no hesitation in doing what it takes to win from blocking shots to dropping the mitts, Darnell was born to lead. Offensively he brings an arsenal of weapons whether it’s using his vision to find his man up ice or jumping up into the rush he continues to develop in these areas. He shows excellent mobility on the point and has great quickness for his size which makes him very effective in PP situations. He has a heavy shot but could stand to use it more often. Has all the tools to be a franchise defender and captain down the road.” – International Scouting Services 2013 Draft Guide

“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. … 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.” – Hockey Prospectus

“Big, strong and competitive and he imposes himself on opponents. Very strong skater with quickness, agility and balance that he uses very effectively to close on plays defensively and to move play ahead and out of his defensive zone. Has really developed his offensive game and he shows the capability of being a very well-rounded and dependable player. The type who can ‘log’ lots of important minutes in a game and these are valuable players in the NHL.” – Craig Button, TSN


Season Team GP G A PTS +/- PIM
2012-13 Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) 68 12 29 41 116
2011-12 Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) 53 1 9 10 61


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