Now that the circus between Ilya Bryzgalov and the media has died down a bit, it’s time for the Philadelphia Flyers to set their sights on the future of the team. More importantly, set their eyes on the upcoming 2013 NHL Draft.
The draft lottery was held on Monday night and it was no surprise that the No.1 pick did not go to the Flyers. They were not even in the Top 5. Instead, the Flyers landed the 11th pick in the first round of this year’s draft.
The Colorado Avalanche got the No.1 pick, which means they are going to most likely draft No.1 ranked Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks. Which is kind of cool if they do, because the American player spent a portion of his childhood in Denver. His dad, former NBA player Ronald “Popeye” Jones, used to play for the Denver Nuggets and asked Joe Sakic for advice on hockey. You know, that Joe Sakic.
Since the Flyers are definitely not going to draft the most sought after defenseman, they will need to set their sights on drafting another defenseman.
How about looking at Darnell Nurse of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds? Nurse has improved since his previous season with the Greyhounds and he had a surge late in the season to bump him up to the No. 2 defenseman (No. 4 overall) in the Central Scouting report.
He had 41 points this season by logging 12 goals and assisting his teammates 29 times. Those are some pretty good numbers, which means that GM Paul Holmgren needs to pay attention to this promising young player. The only problem that would be a risk for them is that he does take a good amount of penalties.
Nurse would be a great fit in Philadelphia, especially considering that he already has ties to this city. His Uncle is ex-Philadelphia Eagles player, Donovan McNabb.
Don’t freak out Philly fans; just because he’s related to McNabb doesn’t mean he is McNabb. There’s a huge difference between the NFL Draft and the NHL Draft. In football, you are immediately thrust into the limelight and usually get a starting spot on the roster. But in hockey, getting drafted gets you a bus ride in the minors.
Nurse is also highly sought after. So if the Flyers cannot draft him due to their position, they also should consider drafting Finnish defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen of TPS. His numbers are not as good. But for defensive depth, you want a player who can block shots and protect the net. He could be a good blueliner to develop in the minors and could potentially take over as the resident Finn on the team when Kimmo Timonen finally retires.