Facts You Need to Know About Philadelphia Flyers' Top Targets in 2013 Draft

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst IJune 11, 2013

Facts You Need to Know About Philadelphia Flyers' Top Targets in 2013 Draft

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    The Philadelphia Flyers select 11th overall in the 2013 NHL draft, set for June 30 in Newark. While many fans wished their playoff-less season ended with a higher draft choice, they should take solace knowing that this is an extremely deep draft.

    There is a lot of talent across the board at every position, and it is a guarantee that at least one or two great prospects will still be around when the Flyers are set to pick.

    Without knowledge of its plans for other offseason moves, Philadelphia's most obvious weakness is its defense. I would be very surprised if it passes up one of the defensemen listed here, although the forward talent in this class is truly impressive.

    GM Paul Holmgren could very well look into moving up in the first round if he has a certain player in mind, but it's impossible to predict now. So, I only took into account players who realistically could be around at 11.

Rasmus Ristolainen, D

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    Ristolainen is a big body and ferocious hitter who plays the game with a mean streak, but he is also very smart and composed when the situation calls for it.

    He excelled in Finland's top league, while logging tough minutes and looking like a solid top-four defenseman who could play soon in the NHL.

    I think a lot of him as a prospect: He skates well, shoots hard, hits hard and is careful with the puck. He fits the mold for the Flyers really well. 

Nikita Zadorov, D

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    Zadorov moved from Moscow to Canada this past year to join the London Knights and get accustomed to life here in preparation for the NHL.

    He is a hulking 6'5" presence on the ice who is raw but has a world of potential. He skates extremely well for such a big kid, and has a pretty good offensive game to go along with his ability in his own zone.

    His toughness is another attribute that will help him fit in with the Flyers. He get in quite a few scraps, and often comes out on top. He's the most raw player on here, but also has the highest ceiling.

Hunter Shinkaruk, C

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    Shinkaruk is a bit undersized for a center, but he brings a scoring ability that the Flyers lacked in 2013. He has great hands, skates well and scores in bunches.

    His shot is lethal and is the biggest reason he scores so often. Playing for Medicine Hat in the WHL, he has racked up 86 goals in 130 games over the past two seasons.

    He needs to continue developing his all-around game, but as he is now, he could give the Flyers a serious scoring boost. I envision him thriving next to Brayden Schenn in a couple years on the second line. 

Darnell Nurse, D

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    Now we get to perhaps the best player on this list—and one with a serious hometown connection. Nurse's uncle is none other than Donovan McNabb, who met Nurse's aunt at Syracuse. 

    Nurse clearly comes from a family of athletes. His father was a wide receiver in the CFL, and his aforementioned aunt was a basketball player at Syracuse.

    At 6'4", Nurse has great size and length and is a fast, effortless skater who is efficient all over the ice. He needs to sharpen up his decision-making a bit, but he projects as a top blueliner in the NHL.

Ryan Pulock, D

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    Pulock is a player who really intrigues me as a Flyers prospect, mostly because of his offensive abilities. He's no slouch in his own end, but it's his high-level offensive talent that really makes him a tantalizing prospect. 

    As you'll see in the video, he has a big, almost violent windup that unleashes a cannon of a slap shot that is by far the best in the class and helped him tie for the Wheat Kings' leading scorer in 2012-13.

    Pulock is actually on the smaller side, but he plays with an edge and will be able to contribute in a number of different ways.