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Nurse moves into Top 10 in Button's NHL draft ranking

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TSN.ca Staff
1/7/2013 1:25:05 PM
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Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defenceman Darnell Nurse has climbed into the Top 10 in TSN Scout Craig Button's January ranking.

It's the third straight ranking that Nurse has moved up, starting at 23rd in Button's October offering, followed by sitting at 18th in December.

"I believe this is a deep draft that in time may rival the 2003 Entry Draft with respect to quality NHL players being selected well into the second round," Button told TSN.ca.  "As play proceeds, I see players solidifying their positions as excellent, very good and good prospects.

"There are others still in the process of trying to establish their potential in a clear manner and while that remains their objective, they also know there are more games for them to put their best skate forward so to speak."

Seth Jones, who plays for the WHL's Portland Winterhawks, and just won a gold medal with Team USA at the World Juniors, remains at the top of Button's list with 28 points and a plus-27 rating in 31 games this season.

"While the process is ongoing I believe that there is one area that is becoming clearer to me," Button said. "I feel Seth Jones is establishing himself as the best player in the draft and that the jockeying for position is now for who may follow him as the second best player.

"I have said all along that Seth is the most unique defenseman I have seen since Chris Pronger and I am now prepared to say, that I don't think there is a better player available in the draft than Seth."

The Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL have a pair of forwards in the Top 5, with Nathan MacKinnon ranked No. 2, while Jonathan Drouin remains at No. 4.

Rounding out the Top-5 is Finnish foward Alexander Barkov at No. 3 and Russian winger Valeri Nichushkin, who moved up three spots to claim No. 5.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Ottawa 67's forward Sean Monahan, defenceman Nikita Zadorov of the London Knights, Swedish winger Elias Lindholm, Nurse and Josh Morrissey of the Prince Albert Raiders.

Edmonton Oil Kins forward Curtis Lazar had the biggest fall in this month's rankings, going from 13th spot in December to 27th in January.

"One player I wrestled with on this ranking was Curtis Lazar," Button told TSN.ca. "I think Curtis has all of the attributes and skills to be a very good NHL player. In my opinion, he has not produced to the level of his abilities to this point and there may be reasons I'm not aware of for that happening.

"I have seen him perform at such a high level in the past and while eyebrows may be raised about 'falling' so many spots, I remain optimistic that Curtis will find his rhythm and will take a significant step ahead in his play during the second half of his season.  I can't dismiss the productivity of other very good prospects at this time but certainly have not lost faith in Curtis."

Click here at (http://www.tsn.ca/craigslist) for the full January prospect list.

Darnell Nurse (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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