Darnell Nurse
Image: OHL

Darnell Nurse


Hamilton Ontario

Currently Playing In:






Eligible for draft:









1st round (7th overall), 2013


192 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • C


2010-11: Darnell Nurse appeared in two OJHL games with the St. Michael’s Buzzers and skated for the Don Mills Flyers midget minor AAA team in the Greater Toronto Metro league. He was scoreless with 4 penalty minutes for the Buzzers. In 38 games with Don Mills he scored 11 goals with 18 assists and had 72 penalty minutes. The Flyers participated in the OHL Cup and in seven games Nurse scored 2 goals with 3 assists and had 18 penalty minutes. Nurse was selected by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the first round (third overall) of the 2011 OHL Priority Selection.

2011-12: Nurse played in 53 games for Sault Ste. Marie in his first OHL season, represented Canada Ontario in the 2011 U17 World Hockey Challenge and played for Team Canada in the 2012 U18 World Junior Championship. He scored 1 goal with 9 assists and had 61 penalty minutes; finishing minus-15 as the Greyhounds missed the OHL playoffs. Nurse scored 1 goal with 2 assists in five games for Canada Ontario at the WHC and skated in seven games for Canada’s bronze medal-winning U18 team; finishing plus-four with no points and 4 penalty minutes.

2012-13: Nurse was a big part of the Greyhounds success as Sault Ste. Marie reached the OHL playoffs for the first time in three seasons. An assistant captain, he was the only player to skate in all 68 regular season games and scored 12 goals with 29 assists; finishing plus-15 with a team-high 116 penalty minutes. In the six-game playoff series with Owen Sound he scored 1 goal with 3 assists and was minus-1 with 6 penalty minutes. Nurse was selected to play for Canada in the 2013 U18 World Junior Championships. He was rated fourth amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by Edmonton in the first round (7th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft. Nurse signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Oilers in July 2013. 

2013-14: Nurse made his pro hockey debut in April 2014 — joining Edmonton AHL affiliate Oklahoma City following the OHL playoffs. He was -2 with no points nor penalties in two regular season games and had 1 assist with 7 penalty minutes in the three-game playoff series with eventual Calder Cup champion Texas. Nurse played in 64 regular season games for Sault Ste. Marie in his third OHL season, scoring 13 goals with 37 assists and finishing +1 with 91 penalty minutes. The Greyhounds finished first in the West Division and reached the second round in the playoffs. Nurse scored 3 goals with 5 assists and was -2 with 12 penalty minutes in nine playoff games. 

Talent Analysis

Darnell Nurse is a big, mobile, gifted blueliner who has a lot of Chris Pronger in his game. He’s an imposing presence on the blueline and has the tools to be successful at both ends. Beyond the bloodlines and support (aunt, father, mother are all elite athletes -- uncle by marriage is Donovan McNabb), Nurse has it where it counts most -- between the ears. He was a leader during his junior career, playing a key role in Sault Ste. Marie's turnaround from a non-playoff team to a championship contender. Nurse continues to add strength and bulk to his ideal NHL frame. He is capable of playing in all situations and can log big minutes.


Nurse made his NHL debut — appearing in two games with the Oilers in October 2014 before being returned to the OHL for the 2014-15 season — and skated for the gold medal-winning Canada U20 team at the 2015 World Junior Championship. After missing the OHL playoffs for the third time in four seasons in Nurse's first season in 2011-12, Sault Ste. Marie has steadily improved and has loaded up for a run at the OHL championship and a Memorial Cup run this season. Nurse is right in the middle of things and continues to be a force at both ends at the junior level. Long-term he projects as a top pairing blueliner, although his offensive game may not be refined enough to consider him a true number-one.


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