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06-06-2013, 03:51 AM
pretty damn valuable
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Richmond, VA
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DdD: Volume 3 - Darnell Nurse

From now until the draft, I will be analyzing a handful of the top draft-eligible defensemen for this upcoming draft. I've collected tons of full games (where I can), highlights, scouting reports, articles, and everything relevant, and picking them apart and going over them with a fine-toothed comb. Feel free to pass right over the writeups, or read and comment on my observations.


Volume 3

Darnell Nurse, Sault Ste. Marie

ISS: 6th | CS: 4th (NA) | THN: 8th

I tried extremely hard to dig deep into the entire arsenal and skill set, trying to unearth anything positive or negative that might not have already been pointed out ad nauseum about Darnell. I was unable to get much in addition to what has already been noted.

There is a ton going on with him as a prospect. A big, fluid defenseman with a loveable physical side, he seems most impressive between the ears. Whether it is a positional dissection, a strategic dissection, or a skills analysis, he passes the test with flying colors. Whether or not he was coached up with regards to handling himself in the media and public eye is besides the point: he is a fantastic kid who says all the right things and backs it up with a versatile game that screams high-end shutdown potential with offensive upside.

Pros: Plays with noticeable smarts at the defenseman's position. A good decision maker with a knack for being in the right place. Leads by example, playing the right way and staying disciplined mentally; also appears to be a vocal leader. He's versatile, projecting to be a key cog on PK units in the pros, and as he grows and matures some more physically, I would expect him to add to his 6'5 frame weight-wise. He fights, he hits, and his developmental track is remarkable. Played in every regular season game, averaged over 30 minutes a night, and got better as the season went on, indicating durability and coachability to date. I like how he tracks his big hits as well - obviously - and his bodying ability is clearly an asset. He keeps opponents square to him on the rushes, and lines his stick up perfectly in the proper lanes. Noticeable to me is how he treats one on ones like 2 on 1s in a good way, in that he takes away options and lets you get a weak shot off from a harmless angle that the goalies are trained to stop in their sleep... Stick in the middle of the ice, doesn't allow the shooter or puck carrier an option in the middle (certainly does not allow the passing lane) and doesn't deflect the puck all over the place. In an interview he did with XM at the combine, he spoke about his receptiveness to coaching, his willingness to eat up criticism in an effort to improve. Great stride despite the lankiness. Nothing you didn't already know... There are obvious legitimate reasons why he is so highly rated on every single board.

Cons: PP aside, I am having trouble translating his offensive numbers into sure-fire production at the next level. And with his shot not being one that overwhelms me in a positive sense, he may never develop into a dangerous PP threat despite being smart with the puck. Needs to work on getting out of the offensive zone after making his rushes, and not staying in the zone so long, transforming into a forward - make your rush and get back to your home. Hes definitely not NHL ready next year. Needs to fill out, and will greatly benefit from the imminent leadership roles in Juniors and the WJCs.

FAVORITE: the way he plays in his own zone overall is tops on my list. He is content being a guy who goes unnoticed until you're up against him in his defensive zone, and then you're introduced to him properly. Equally capable of shutting you down with a body and deceptive, quick, well placed stick work.

HATE IT: he uses his arms to hit a bit too much at the moment. He will frequently shove or hit with his arms; not always enough shoulder or drive with the hips. Whether or not that changes with meat added to his frame remains to be seen.

Standout Draft Moment: for me, his performance in the CHL Top Prospects game, in particular it was the fight with Curtis Lazar that put his mental and physical mindset and willingness to rise to the occasion on a big stage on full display.

If we took him at 8, I' very happy, and only disappointed if we left Lindholm on the board in his stead. We have nothing close to him in the pipeline, and the potential I see is tantalizing enough to get by the fact that there is another year of development in Juniors required of him.

If we took him at 16, I' giddy. I'd endorse the pick at 8, so getting a guy like that in our prospect pool at 16 would be amazing. He's not going to make it that far in the draft, though.

Ridiculously-specific Comparable, Best Case: he would play like Chris Pronger, which isn't all that "ridiculously specific" compared to the other hybrids I've mentioned and will mention (original, I know but you see why the comparisons exist when you watch his tape and focus on the stride length and physicality). Best case, he is all he appears to be defensively and adds some CP to his offense

Volume 1 - Nikita Zadorov

Volume 2 - Steve Santini

Last edited by jBuds: 06-06-2013 at 03:57 AM. Reason: Added links for Vol. 1-2
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