With the seventh pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers selected defenseman Darnell Nurse from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL.
Nurse is one of the top defensive prospects in the draft coming off a solid season for Sault Ste. Marie in which he compiled 41 points in 68 games from the blueline in the OHL. He put up four points in six games during the 2013 OHL Playoffs. Nurse also has one of the more entertaining side stories of the draft, as he is the nephew of former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
The Hamilton, Ontario native is ranked No. 4 by NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters. He is ranked No. 6 by ISS among all skaters, while TSN's Craig Button ranks him No. 8 among all prospects.
In his second season in the OHL, Nurse has taken on a huge role with the Greyhounds. He was playing upwards of 30 minutes a night while bringing up his point total and improving his plus-minus rating. His coach, Mike Stapleton says his growth in coordination and mobility are just as impressive as his size and physicality. He sees potential as both an offensive defenseman and a stay-at-home guy.
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.
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