Donovan McNabb isn’t the only one in the family to be a top draft pick anymore, as the former NFL quarterback’s nephew, Darnell Nurse, was selected in the 2013 NHL draft on Sunday afternoon.
The Edmonton Oilers selected Nurse with the seventh overall pick in the draft. The team announced the draft selection via their official Twitter account:
As the official Twitter account of the NHL points out, Nurse’s entire family is quite athletic:
Nurse worked very hard to be as talented as he is, and doesn’t want to completely credit his lineage. Here’s what Nurse told Sean Leahy of Yahoo! Sports:
Everyone is athletic in one way or another. But for me, athleticism wouldn’t get me too far if I didn’t work the way I did. It all comes down that. Everyone nowadays is in the gym 5-6 times a week. With the athletic part as a background, it’s a good help. It’d be hard to find someone who works as hard as I do.
Nurse, a defenseman from Ontario, was arguably the second-best defenseman in this year’s draft class—behind only Seth Jones. He’s a topnotch defenseman who isn’t going to cost Edmonton many goals throughout his career. In his second OHL season, he led Sault Ste. Marie with a plus-15 rating.
Edmonton entered the draft really needing to take a defenseman. The Oilers gave up the 12th most goals per game last season in the NHL, according to ESPN. Edmonton only had three defensemen on the roster with a positive plus rating.
How will Darnell Nurse fare in the NHL?
On defense, the Oilers have the Schultz brothers, Nick and Justin, and Anton Belov—a top defenseman from the KHL. All three should be superstars in the NHL in the future. Now, Edmonton adds another promising stud into the mix.
Nurse will be able to come in right away to aid the Oilers' defense and make things as easy as possible for Devan Dubnyk in net. Justin Schultz and Nurse will likely play on the top defensive pairing to start the year for Oilers, but the rookie could also fit in nicely on the second pairing as well.
Edmonton's defense improves mightily by drafting Nurse with the seventh pick. In the coming years, the Oilers may have one of the toughest defenses to score on in the entire league.