The Flyers would love to select bruising defenseman Darnell Nurse in the first round of Sunday's NHL draft in Newark, but unless they trade up, he probably won't be there when they make the 11th overall pick. Rasmus Ristolainen might be a nice consolation prize. The Finnish defenseman has a lot going for him. He's a righthanded shooter, has imposing size (6-foot-4, 207 pounds), and is regarded as a strong player at both ends of the ice. Oh, and he plays a physical, edgy style, an uncommon trait for most European players. Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said Ristolainen, 18, might be NHL-ready. "He looks like a man right now compared to some of the kids you see," Holmgren said. Ristolainen, No. 4 on Central Scouting's list of draft-eligible European skaters, logged more than 25 minutes a game last season while playing for Finland's top league. Other than Seth Jones, Holmgren said, Ristolainen is "probably the most ready [defenseman] to jump right in" and play in the NHL. "Offensively, he looks like a good, solid prospect with a big shot." Scouts are divided as to whether Ristolainen will be there when the Flyers pick at No. 11. The Flyers have six picks in the seven-round draft; they dealt their fourth-rounder to Los Angeles for Simon Gagne.
Flyers looking to draft big-shooting defenseman
Philly.com | Jun 30