In the next edition of TheFarmClub.net’s NHL Draft Preview, I will be taking a look at Sault Ste. Marie’s defenseman, Darnell Nurse. For the previous editions, click on the links below.
In an incredibly deep crop of defenseman, Darnell Nurse is another big blue liner with the upside as a top pair ‘D’ man. What sets Nurse apart from the defenders, as I have covered before is his physicality. His father, Richard Nurse, was a receiver in the CFL, so you know physicality is in his blood. Seth Jones and Rasmus Risolainen both have more developed two-way games, with Nurse falling more into the shutdown role of the bunch so far.
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.
Nurse will certainly go in the top-10, and no later than the first 12 picks, and will fit in perfectly going that high to a struggling team. His ability to lift his team with his play or with his fists will give a likely young, inexperienced, and/or struggling team a spark, and he can quickly become a leader on the team. A team like Philadelphia, the last team Chris Pronger played for, would be a perfect fit for him, and with their struggles, he might find himself suiting up for the orange and black next fall.