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Darnell Nurse Comparables: Do You Prefer P.K. or Pietrangelo?

Darnell Nurse is keeping company with some impactful peers.

Jamie Squire

Scott and I have both done some work in finding comparables for Darnell Nurse. A few weeks ago, I compared Nurse his fellow draftees and found that he performed at a high level, comparable to the top offensive defensemen of the draft, though he didn't get power play time, which he'll get plenty of in 2013-14.

Soo Greyhounds General Manager Kyle Dubas appeared on The Pipeline Show to discuss his man Darnell Nurse, the early jewel in Dubas' turn around of the OHL franchise. In the interview, Dubas indicates that Nurse's workload isn't going to be modified to handle the additional power play time, rather, he's going to simply play an extra minute or two per game, moving his workload from 25:17 into the 28 minutes per game range.

The articles and conversation led me to yet another conversation with Vic Carneiro, a scout for the Soo, about Nurse's place amongst other significant OHL defensemen drafted in the last five years. I put together a couple of tables to compare those players below.

GP - Games played; ESP - Even strength points; ESP/G - Even strength points per game; P - Total points; ESP% - Even strength points as a percentage of total points

Draft Year
Ryan Ellis 57 42 0.74 89 0.47
Dougie Hamilton 67 48 0.72 58 0.83
Ryan Murphy 63 32 0.51 79 0.41
Alex Pietrangelo 60 25 0.42 53 0.47
Darnell Nurse 68 27 0.40 41 0.66
P.K. Subban 68 16 0.24 56 0.29
  • Nurse already compares favorable to Subban and Pietrangelo, but well back of Ellis and Hamilton.
Draft Year +1
Ryan Ellis 48 24 0.50 61 0.39
Dougie Hamilton 50 32 0.63 72 0.44
Ryan Murphy 49 26 0.53 54 0.48
Alex Pietrangelo 36 17 0.48 29 0.59
Darnell Nurse* 68 32 0.47 55 0.58
PK Subban 58 24 0.42 46 0.53


  • I've projected Nurse in his Draft +1 season by increasing his power play output and giving him a modest gain at even strength.
  • Nurse again compares favorably to Pietrangelo and Subban, both of whom played significant minutes against top competition in all three situations in their draft +1 season.

It seems overly hopeful, even hyperbolic to imagine that Nurse could compare to Alex Pietrangelo's career arc, but here's the rub: none of the OHL people I've talked to are the least bit surprised by that comparison.