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Flyers likely to draft defenseman with No. 11 overall pick

Jun 27, 2013, 11:33 AM EDT

Darnell Nurse

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren traditionally doesn’t draft a player based primarily on his team’s current needs, but he isn’t shy about sharing his preference if he has to chose between a defenseman and forward that are relatively equal in terms of talent.

“Well, then we’d probably lean toward the defenseman,” Holmgren told CSN Philly. “Just because of our needs.”

The Philadelphia Flyers hold the 11th pick in the NHL Entry Draft, which is early enough to get a great prospect, but late enough to make it very difficult to accurately judge who might be available.

Still, if Darnell Nurse happens to slip that far, the Flyers will seriously consider scooping him up.

“I’ve seen Darnell play a few times,” Holmgren said. “He’s a hard-nosed kid. He’s like 6-4, I would venture to guess he weighs like 210 pounds (he’s listed as 6-5/192). He’s still, when you watch him play, a lot of elbows and knees, but he’s a rugged, hard-nosed player that can fight, pretty good with the puck, and he’ll continue to get better.

“But I have no idea if he’ll be there at our pick.”

Other possibilities are blueliners Rasmus Ristolainen and Ryan Pulock.

Holmgren noted that Ristolainen “looks like a man right now” given his 6-foot-3, 207-pound frame and is probably the closest defenseman to being NHL ready, with the exception of top ranked blueliner Seth Jones. Pulock isn’t as physical as Nurse, but he’s “got a bomb for a power play.”

  1. hockey412 - Jun 27, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    My money is on Ristolainen. In Nurse was available and they didn’t take him, they’d be crazy.

    • moarjam - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      Agreed. Doubt Nurse is there at 11 but if he is you have to take him.

      Ristolainen is still a great consolation prize. I believe the kid will be a gamer.

      • tdrusher225 - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        We’ve seen these guys slip before (i.e. Cam Fowler at #12)

  2. jaredphi - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Ristolainen is my guess for our first round pick.

    I’d be happy with him or Pulock.

    Yeah, Nurse likely isn’t going to be there at #11.

  3. isithockeyseasonyet - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Why not package the pick and trade up for seth jones? What would that take to move up for him?

    • valarmorghuliss - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      The Flyer next 3 first round choices, Sean Couturier and Matt Read.

      • valarmorghuliss - Jun 27, 2013 at 2:19 PM

        Sorry, but that’s what it’s going to take to move up into the #1 or #2 spot in this draft for the Flyers.
        The Flames were already told no when they offered 6th, 22nd and 28th. If you think the Flyers are coming with 11th and other crap you’re out to lunch.

  4. desertfan - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Nurse gone by 6-7 at the latest!!

  5. 950003cups - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Why wouldn’t anyone want Fucale? Especially a team who just can’t seem to buy a goalie to save their lives. The guy was 45-5-3-2.

    During 12/13 Fucale became the Halifax Mooseheads all-time leader in goalie Wins with 69, previously held by Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

    His stats are great in the regular season, and he picks up steam in the playoffs. During the 2012-13 Playoffs he maintained a GAA of 2.02 and a Save % of 0.918 w/ 16 wins with the Mooseheads and they won their first President’s Cup in the Q League. In the 2013 Memorial Cup Round Robin, Fucale maintained a 0.902 save percentage while keeping a 3.52 GAA to help the Halifax Mooseheads capture their first Memorial Cup.

    He also won a gold medal at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka memorial tournament with Team Canada

    Right, take a defenseman. Then go out and sign Mike Smith. Those PHX goalies are really working wondes for the Flyers.

    • moarjam - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      Then you can take him at 9…

      Yeah the flyers need a goalie of the future but I doubt they are drafting Fucale at 11. What it comes down to is that goalies are not valued as high as forwards or defensemen at the draft. It is very much the same as RB in the NFL draft. Both are important positions but GMs think they can get better value for them in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th rounds.

      • 950003cups - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:54 PM

        If we didn’t have Kinkaid looking promising, I would wish we do take him.

        But I think we have to take Anthony Brodeur. Some sort of unwritten rule.

        There is also a kid Storm Phaneuf coming up next year. The kid looks like a reincarnation of Patrick Roy. A butterfly goalie who can handle the puck. You might look for him soon if you pass on Fucale. Storm is more athletic and talented than most of the goalies drafted in the last 5 years. During the locklout, I got to see a lot of junior hockey.

      • valarmorghuliss - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        This claptrap about Goalies not being valued and the comparison to NFL RB’s is hilarious. You really believe that’s the case don’t ya? Nobody wins cups without great goal tending. Every coach and GM knows it. Don’t get confused because there are only so many openings as a NHL goalie in the league, GM’s value a potential franchise goalie just as much as anything else.

      • valarmorghuliss - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:32 PM

        And this crap about Storm Phaneuf is equally off base. You’re talking about a kid who done nothing compared to Fucale. A kid that isn’t even a certain 1st rounder in ’14. He’s gonna have to put up a big season to get where Fucale is now.

        Fucale has been called by more the one NHL guy, as the most impressive 18 year old goalie they have ever seen.

      • ibieiniid - Jun 27, 2013 at 3:17 PM

        yeah maybe just say it and don’t be a dick about it next time valarmorghuliss

    • hockeyfan28 - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:25 PM

      The Devils are going to take Furcale at 9 Craig Button said as much last night on the NHL Network
      the Flyers hit the jackpot with Anthony Stolarz last year anyway he’s the heavy favorite to be the starting
      goalie for the USA junior team at the Word Championships in Dec…..I want Pulock you cannot teach a
      102 mile per hour slapshot

      • moarjam - Jun 27, 2013 at 2:12 PM

        @valar you might want to re-read what I wrote. I didn’t say that GMs don’t value goalies. I said they tend not to value them as much as much as a forward or defenseman AT THE DRAFT. Picking a goalie can be a bit of a crapshoot. 10 out of 30 starting goalies were picked in the first round. That’s 1/3. I would consider only one of them a top 5 goalie (Rask). So your odds of landing a starter, let along stud goalie are better outside of the 1st round.

        Now go ahead and create a top 10 forward list and see how many of those players were drafted outside of the 1st round. Depending on your list my guess would be 1-2. They are just simply valued more in the 1st round than goalies.

  6. 950003cups - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    My surprise prediction is NIKITA ZADOROV. He’s EXACTLY what Philly needs.He could be around by #11, and there is no doubt, THATS YOUR MAN.

    Don’t listen to the Darnell Nurse bull crap.

    Read up on this guy, and 7 of 10 (knowledgeable) Flyer fans will agree with me.

    If you pass on goaltender ZACH FUCALE, and they wqant a dman, then you take NIKITA ZADAROV

    • valarmorghuliss - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:23 PM

      Gonna be hard to pass on Fucale at 11 when he’s already drafted by your Devils at #9

      • 950003cups - Jun 27, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        Don’t discount Storm Phaneuf. When I saw him play, he was 16. By 18, I think he’ll be on many GM radars

      • valarmorghuliss - Jun 27, 2013 at 2:16 PM

        Oh no doubt he is, but he’s got a long long way to go before being mentioned as a top 15 pick.
        And ya gotta love that name, the Hurricanes would have a PR field day with the kid.

  7. valarmorghuliss - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Nurse won’t be there at 11, the Oilers are supposedly considering trading up to get him.

  8. hockeyfan28 - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Ryan Pulock you can’t teach 102 mph

    • 19to77 - Jun 27, 2013 at 3:32 PM

      They don’t need giant one-timers, they need the best defender in his own zone. The Flyers can score in all kinds of ways, but their ability to keep the puck OUT of the net is sorely lacking. Ristolainen’s probably the best way to address that at #11.

      • hockeyfan28 - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:04 PM

        Yes they do you can’t teach that kinda shot you can always teach positional play which is Pulocks only drawback besides if they went with a big physical defensemen I’d rather see them take Nikita Zardorov he’s got way more upside

      • 19to77 - Jun 27, 2013 at 7:37 PM

        I wouldn’t mind Zadorov, we’re in agreement there. But seriously, they don’t need a one-way guy whose defensive game is years from NHL-ready as badly as a two-way guy who can start playing effective shifts within two years. Ristolainen has offensive upside too, albeit not as much as Nurse or Pulock.

        Seems like the best call might be to try to trade up to 7th and go for Nurse though, he does everything effectively and has the mean streak that Philly’s been missing without Pronger. A big, angry two-way defenseman is a hell of an asset. Still, Zadorov brings that too and he’ll be on the board at 11th.

      • hockeyfan28 - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:32 PM

        The thing I like about Zardorov is he is not only possibly the strongest player in the draft but he is also big,mobile, and he is looking to drop the hammer on someone coming in the neutral zone and his offensive game keeps getting better Ristolainen is the more polished player now but doesn’t have as much upside going forward ideally Nurse solves both these problems but I think he is going 4-8 as well

  9. tcclark - Jun 27, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    My odds are on a forward. Paul Holmgren drafts himself every year: A physical forward with defensive skills and the ability to score. JVR, Couturier, Laughton. They even played Sbisa on the wing for a little while.

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