Darnell Nurse
Image: OHL

Darnell Nurse


Hamilton Ontario

Currently Playing In:






Eligible for draft:









1st round (7th overall), 2013


192 lbs.

<<<<<<< Updated upstream

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. 

2014-15: Nurse made his NHL debut as a 19-year-old, skating in two early season games with the Oilers before being returned to the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. He finished the year with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons and was part of Canada’s gold medal-winning U20 team at the 2015 World Junior Championship. Nurse had no points nor penalties and was -2, averaging 17 minutes of ice time in two NHL games. Joining the Barons during the AHL playoffs, he had 4 assists and was +3 with 4 penalty minutes in four games. Nurse had 1 assist and was +8 with 6 penalty minutes in eight games for host Canada at the World Juniors. He scored 10 goals with 23 assists and was +18 with 58 penalty minutes in 36 games during the OHL regular season. The Greyhounds finished first in the West Division, falling to Erie in the Western Conference finals. Nurse scored 3 goals with 5 assists and was +9 with 26 penalty minutes in 14 OHL 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 has been a workhorse for Edmonton in 2015-16 — averaging over 20 minutes of ice time per game for the Oilers as a rookie. He is active in the middle of the play and is a strong presence at both ends of the ice. The Oilers continue to struggle in their own end but Nurse figures to be a big part of things as Edmonton continues to address its defensive weaknesses.


Video: 2013 NHL Combine – Darnell Nurse, OHL

by Ken McKenna
Darnell Nurse - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

Photo: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defenseman Darnell Nurse has developed into a potential top 10 selection with his combination of size, grit and offensive ability (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)


When talk of the top defensemen available for the 2013 NHL Draft bubbled up over the course of the 2012-13 season, those discussions pretty much began and ended with potential first overall selection, Seth Jones.

Read more»