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Flyers likely to draft defenseman with No. 11 overall pick

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.”