Mobility: Nurse skates exceptionally well for his size, which allows him to chase down opponents, carry the puck out of the defensive zone and join the rush. He can basically cover the length of the ice without breaking a sweat. He also has great stamina to help him mask some of his warts.
Size: At 6’4”, 221 pounds, Nurse is an imposing figure on the back end. He isn’t necessarily a punishing blueliner, but he is effective at leaning on puck-carriers and using his reach to break up plays along the boards. When you factor in his skating ability, Nurse has all the physical tools to be a dominant rearguard.
Shot: Not only does he frequently jump into the attack, but he also boasts a good shot. His wrister is accurate and he’s starting to develop a deadly one-timer from the high slot. Most importantly, he seldom gets his attempts blocked. If a lane isn’t there, he’ll move the puck.
Defense: By first-pairing standards, Nurse’s actual defense is poor. He often takes shortcuts in his end and loses inside positioning, and his net-front play leaves much to be desired. Even when he’s in the right spot, he can struggle to stay in front of his man in one-on-one situations. All in all, he’s wildly unreliable in his zone.
Decision-Making: Nurse can’t seem to find the right balance between defense and offense. He’ll throw caution to the wind and repeatedly leap into the play one night, and then he’ll be so conservative it’s like he isn’t even in the offensive zone other nights. Finding a middle ground would go a long way toward establishing himself as a legitimate No. 1 defenseman.