21-Year-Old Defenseman – Edmonton Oilers
Darnell Nurse Contract Information:
Signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the Oilers in July of 2013.
Nurse scored his first goal of the season during Sunday's Heritage Classic win over the Jets.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Darnell Nurse.
Nurse is an absolute beast. He was flat-out dominant as the captain of OHL Sault Ste. Marie, and he was part of the top pairing on the powerful Canadian squad that won the 2015 World Junior Championship. He brings it all -- powerful skating that pushes the play, a good shot, and a nasty streak that puts opponents into the boards and onto their butts. And he had an outstanding development camp over the summer. But he’s only 20 and this is his first year as a pro. We’d love to say Nurse could Aaron Ekblad his way to a dominant role in the Oil Patch, but that team is still a work in progress. Nurse has the talent to spend the season in Edmonton, but he'll have to stand out in training camp in order to avoid a deployment to AHL Bakersfield. Be wary of snake eyes on draft day -- sometimes the dice doesn’t roll in your favor.
Nurse was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, and some could argue he is ready to play in the NHL now. However, the Oilers have beefed up their D in the offseason with the additions of Nikita Nikitin and Mark Fayne, so Nurse will likely spend another year developing in the OHL in 2014-15. It’s hard to fault the Oilers for the decision, as the NHL is littered with promising, young blueliners who were rushed to the big stage right away, thus neutering their potential. The Oil won't take that chance with the future anchor of their back end. Nurse will be a good one once he arrives, so stash him in your keeper and dynasty leagues if you can.
The seventh pick in this year's draft has the makings of a top pairing defender. He is a physical presence who will hit with impunity and he can also carry the puck. He has been compared to everyone from Shea Weber to Chris Pronger, and has impressive bloodlines as his uncle is NFL QB Donovan McNabb and his dad played in the Canadian Football League. He is only 18, however, and needs to grow his game. His future in Edmonton may be two years away.