You might want to file away the name Darnell Nurse for future reference.
The Sault Ste. Marie defenseman featured prominently in NHL Central Scouting’s 2013 preliminary draft rankings — Nurse came in as the OHL’s top-ranked blueliner and the second best skater in the league, behind Ottawa forward Sean Monahan.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Nurse credits his parents for teaching the importance of training and staying fit, and cites his uncle as a major influence in his life.
That uncle would be Donovan McNabb, the six-time Pro Bowl QB.
“My uncle has always been there for me,” Nurse told NHL.com. “No matter if I had a question being away from home for the first time, or working out over the summer.
“He’s been someone I’ve always been able to reach out to … he’s a big person in my life.”
Speaking of big, it’s Nurse’s size that has scouts excited about his potential — and has many drawing comparisons to Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Chris Pronger.
NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards made the Pronger comparison and said Nurse’s ability to skate well and play physical are big reasons why.
“Anytime you get a guy his size, who skates as well as [Nurse] does and plays a physical game, it’s fun to watch,” Edwards said. “In the one game at Guelph, I saw him fight twice and he did very well in both. The fights happened while both players were going for the puck and they just got into it. He handles himself very well.
“I like everything about this guy, and defensemen like him are hard to find.”
(Image courtesy Soogreyhounds.com.)