Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Welcome to the Official Site of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Facebook of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Twitter of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Instagram of the Philadelphia Flyers Official LinkedIn of the Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers could target defenseman with top pick

Thursday, 06.27.2013 / 12:14 PM / News
By Mike G. Morreale  -
Share with your Friends

Flyers could target defenseman with top pick
Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said his team will draft the best player available at No. 11, and that player could be a defenseman

It appears as though Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren would like to bring a little more "Bully" back to "Broad Street" at the 2013 NHL Draft.

With some forwards in the prospect pool prepared to challenge for full-time roles with the club, including centers Scott Laughton and Nick Cousins, as well as left wing Tye McGinn, Holmgren and his scouting staff might seek that ornery-type defenseman the team has been missing since Chris Pronger left the lineup in 2011.

The type of defenseman that will make opposing forwards cringe at his very sight.

At a press conference Wednesday, Holmgren said he's content to stay at No. 11 in the first round, but that if a deal made sense, he certainly would look into it.

"I think you have to have an open mind," he said. "I think 11 is a good spot. If we can move up the food chain and get what we'd probably agree is a better prospect, we have to look at it if it's a deal that makes sense."

The draft is slated for Sunday at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. (3 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN). Philadelphia currently has six picks, including one each in the opening three rounds, and one each in the fifth, sixth and seventh.

Holmgren said the organization will choose the best player available when the time to pick comes. Still, the fact prospects of different positions outside the top 10 may project similarly, no matter what position they play, may point to one thing -- drafting a defenseman might not be a bad idea for a franchise in need of one.

Holmgren was asked about two specific defense prospects Wednesday -- Rasmus Ristolainen of TPS in Finland and Ryan Pulock of the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League.

Ristolainen, a 6-foot-4, 207-pound right-handed shot, is physical and skilled offensively. He logged between 25 and 30 minutes a game for TPS in Finland's top professional league in 2012-13 and is No. 4 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top draft-eligible European skaters.

"He plays that physical style and played big minutes with a team that that didn't do very well, and was the leading defenseman there," NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told "He's a mobile, strong, offensive-minded defenseman with very good puck-handling and passing skills. He's young, but he knows how to use his size and strength. He's one of the best young defensemen in Europe in his age group. He's a leader on the ice and plays with confidence."

Holmgren went as far as to say that Ristolainen may be NHL-ready at this point in his career.

"He looks like a man right now compared to some of the kids you see," Holmgren said. "I would say of all the defensemen [outside No. 1-rated prospect Seth Jones], in my opinion, he's probably the most ready to jump right in. Offensively, he looks like a good, solid prospect with a big shot."

Ristolainen tested well during the fitness phase at the NHL Scouting Combine. His most noteworthy finish came in the VO2 Max test, in which he lasted 14 minutes on the grueling stationary bike test to place among the top five among the 101 prospects invited.

Holmgren also was impressed with Pulock. Both players might be available when it's the Flyers' turn to pick.

Despite missing considerable time in 2012-13 with a fractured orbital bone early in the season and then a broken wrist, Pulock impressed the scouts enough to be placed at No. 12 in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters.

In 2011-12, Pulock finished third among WHL defensemen with 60 points, while also finishing with a plus-43 rating, in 71 games. In 61 games in 2012-13, he had 14 goals (seven on the power play), 45 points and a minus-7 rating as one of the leaders on a relatively young Brandon squad.

"He was very good as an underager even though his team wasn't very good," Holmgren said. "He had some injuries, but he's really got a bomb on the power play. He's actually pretty physically developed, too."

Pulock was asked what qualities he feels an NHL defenseman needs to possess to remain consistently good in today's game.

"I think being tough in the defensive zone and tough on guys," he said. "Obviously being a defenseman, your own zone comes first, and the key area to protect is the net. It's important to move pucks efficiently up to the forwards and then, from there, jump into the play and help offensively."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL




1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52


C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
Privacy Policy | AdChoices | California Privacy Rights | Contact Us | Advertise Employment | Terms of Use is the official Web site of the Philadelphia Flyers. Philadelphia Flyers and are trademarks of Philadelphia Flyers, L.P. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2014 Philadelphia Flyers, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.