Darnell Nurse

Darnell Nurse

29-Year-Old DefensemanD
Edmonton Oilers
2023 Fantasy Outlook
Despite seeing just 56 seconds of power-play ice time per game, Nurse was able to put together a career year in 2022-23. He racked up 12 goals, a career-best 43 points, 203 shots on goal, 165 blocked shots, 146 hits, 64 PIM and a plus-26 rating over 82 games. While he doesn't stand out in any one area, Nurse's role as the Oilers' top defenseman allows him to record well-rounded numbers, and that should continue to be the case this season. His fantasy value expands with more categories in play, especially given his physical play, but he's shown enough scoring potential to slot in as a third defenseman in standard formats too. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed an eight-year, $74 million contract with the Oilers in August of 2021.
Deposits empty-netter
DEdmonton Oilers
June 21, 2024
Nurse scored an empty-net goal, added three hits, blocked two shots and went plus-2 in Friday's 5-1 win over the Panthers in Game 6.
ANALYSIS
Nurse has two goals this postseason, and he's scored both of them over the last three games. The defenseman is up to six points, 42 shots on net, 48 hits, 62 blocked shots and a minus-9 rating through 24 playoff contests. He'll likely remain in a second-pairing role for Monday's Game 7.
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NHL Stats
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2021
2020
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2023 NHL Game Log
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2022 NHL Game Log
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2023–24 Time On Ice Stats
  • Average Time On Ice:
    21:54
  • Average Power Play TOI:
    1:02
  • Average Short-Handed TOI:
    2:30
 
Ice Time
Power Play
Short-Handed
2021–22
25:03
1:09
2:45
2022–23
23:30
0:56
2:54
2023–24
21:54
1:02
2:30
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Oilers Power Play Depth Chart
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Darnell Nurse See More
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66 days ago
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2022
2021
2020
2019
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2017
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2013
Nurse missed a half-dozen games in the middle of November with a finger injury and was then sidelined for Edmonton's final four regular-season games with a lower-body issue. He was also suspended one playoff game for a headbutting incident and played through a torn hip flexor in the Oilers' run to the Western Conference Finals. All that said, he finished with 35 points, the fourth straight year he's posted 30-plus. Nurse played north of 25 minutes per game (25:03) for a second straight season but saw just 1:09 per game with the man advantage. Nurse is always good for a combined 300-plus hits and blocks over the course of a full season, but his fantasy value in standard leagues will continue to be limited if Tyson Barrie is running the Edmonton power play.
The absence of Oscar Klefbom (shoulder) opened a huge opportunity for Nurse last season, who saw his ice time skyrocket to 25:38 per game. In many ways, Nurse is an ideal fantasy defenseman -- he posted 36 points, a plus-27 rating and 154 shots on goal on offense while adding 117 hits, 100 blocked shots and 57 PIM as a shutdown defender. Still just 26 years old, the Ontario native has upwards of 50-point potential given how much ice time he's likely to see with either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl (or both) on the ice. Even if his offense fades slightly, Nurse does enough all over the ice to be a No. 1 or 2 fantasy defenseman. The one knock on his game is a lack of power-play time, as Tyson Barrie sees first-unit minutes in Edmonton.
Nurse turned in another strong campaign with five goals and 33 points in 71 appearances last year. The 25-year-old blueliner also contributed 170 shots on goal, 172 hits and 141 blocked shots, providing excellent non-scoring numbers. There's really only one knock on Nurse's game from a fantasy perspective, and that comes in the form of his lack of man-advantage opportunities, but his relative lack of power-play time hasn't held him back from generating points. He's a virtual lock to play at a 40-point pace while adding significant numbers in hits and blocked shots in 2020-21. That gives Nurse some universal appeal to fantasy managers as a solid middle-to-late round option on defense.
Nurse amassed 41 points over 82 games during his 2018-19 campaign, proving without a doubt that he has what it takes to be the workhorse defenseman the Oilers tabbed him as when they drafted him seventh overall back in 2013. Despite finishing last season with a minus-5 rating, the 24-year-old was Edmonton's most impactful and trustworthy blueliner, and the team should expect more of the same heading into the 2019-20 season. Primarily known for his defensive acumen, Nurse possesses enough offensive ability and upside for fantasy owners to be comfortable dedicating a late-round selection to him. Nurse's age makes him extra attractive in keeper leagues.
Nurse played his best season as a pro with the Oilers in 2017-18. The 23-year-old blueliner finished with 26 points (six goals and 20 assists) in 82 games after merely producing 11 points in the previous season. Nurse also finished with a positive plus-minus rating (15) for the first time in his four-year career and delivered more hits and blocked shots than he did in 2016-17, finishing with 161 and 153 of those, respectively. Even though he failed to secure a long-term deal with the club this offseason, the burgeoning skater could be a sneaky late-round pick come draft day.
Nurse’s 2016-17 campaign was derailed by an ankle injury that limited him to 44 games, though he still managed to show some improvement over the prior season, lifting his rating from minus-13 to even while improving his point total by one (to 11) despite playing in 25 fewer games. He was able to do that despite playing a much smaller role when healthy, as Nurse averaged only 17:01 of ice time. Long considered one of Edmonton’s top blue-line prospects, the 2013 draft’s No. 7 overall selected has had a stop-and-go start to his career, with injuries and limited playing time seeming to hinder his development. However, he’s still just 22 years old and a likely candidate for a top-four role this season, thanks in part to Andrej Sekera’s torn ACL, making Nurse an attractive late-round gamble in fantasy drafts.
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.
More Fantasy News
Pots goal in Game 4 win
DEdmonton Oilers
June 15, 2024
Nurse scored a goal on six shots, blocked five shots, added four PIM and went plus-3 in Saturday's 8-1 win over the Panthers in Game 4.
ANALYSIS
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Collects assist in loss
DEdmonton Oilers
June 14, 2024
Nurse notched an assist, two hits and two blocked shots in Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Panthers in Game 3.
ANALYSIS
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Slated to play in Game 3
DEdmonton Oilers
June 12, 2024
Nurse (hip) is expected to play in Game 3 against Florida on Thursday, Chris Johnston of The Athletic reports Wednesday.
ANALYSIS
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Game 3 status uncertain
DEdmonton Oilers
Hip
June 11, 2024
Nurse, who reportedly suffered a hip injury in Game 2 on Monday, is still being evaluated. Coach Kris Knoblauch told reporters, "Haven't spoken to our medical staff. I'll be seeing them in about 15 minutes, and I'll get their report," per Tracey Myers of NHL.com.
ANALYSIS
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Big impact in Game 4 win
DEdmonton Oilers
May 29, 2024
Nurse logged an assist, 12 hits and three blocked shots in Wednesday's 5-2 win over the Stars in Game 4.
ANALYSIS
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Latest Fantasy Rumors
Might miss Thursday's game
DEdmonton Oilers
June 12, 2024
Nurse, who sustained a hip injury during Monday's 4-1 loss to Florida, missed Wednesday's morning skate, per Reid Wilkins of 630 CHED, which fuels speculation that the defenseman might miss Game 3 against the Panthers on Thursday.
ANALYSIS
Nurse logged just 4:20 of ice time Monday due to the injury. Although he's struggled in the 2024 playoffs, recording just three assists and a terrible minus-15 rating across 20 contests, he's also averaged 19:01 of ice time over that stretch, so Edmonton's defensive corps would have a big hole to fill if he were to be unavailable for Game 3. Cody Ceci, who was a healthy scratch Monday, will likely draw back into the lineup if Nurse can't play.
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