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Ten for Eleven

by Anthony SanFilippo / Philadelphia Flyers

The NHL draft is fast approaching. Here we sit, the final Sunday in May with the knowledge that the draft will take place up the New Jersey Turnpike in Newark on the Final Sunday in June.

So, in a little more than a month the Flyers will have another top prospect in their stable, probably taken with the No. 11 pick in that draft, as they continue to restock the farm system with high-end prospects, as they have committed to do in recent drafts.

And there are 10 players that the Flyers can narrow in on as a group of players who may be available at that No. 11 pick.

And while the plan in to introduce you to those ten players today so that you are well-armed for the opening round of that draft, before we do, let’s look at a brief history of the No. 11 pick in the NHL draft.

Here is a list of players selected No. 11 overall in the last 15 drafts followed by their career NHL numbers:

The NHL Draft will take place at the Prudential Center on June 30 starting at 3 p.m.

1998CarolinaJeff HeeremaRW4-2-6 in 32 games

1999CalgaryOleg SaprykinLW55-82-137 in 325 games

2000ChicagoPavel VorobievRW10-15-25 in 57 games

2001PhoenixFredrik SjostromRW46-58-104 in 489 games

2002BuffaloKeith BallardD36-129-165 in 545 games

2003FLYERSJeff CarterC228-182-410 in 564 games

2004Los AngelesLauri TukonenRW0-0-0 in 5 games

2005Los AngelesAnze KopitarC173-303-476 in 522 games

2006 Los AngelesJonathan BernierG29-20-6, 2.36 GAA in 62 games

2007CarolinaBrandon SutterC64-62-126 in 334 games

2008ChicagoKyle BeachLWNo NHL experience

2009NashvilleRyan EllisD5-12-17 in 64 games

2010DallasJack CampbellGNo NHL experience

2011ColoradoDuncan SiemensDNo NHL experience

2012WashingtonFilip ForsbergC0-1-1 in 5 games

-Heerema retired after the 2011-12 season after playing in Europe for five years. He last appeared in the NHL in 2003-04 with the St. Louis Blues.

-Saprykin has spent the past six seasons playing in Russia, most recently with Ufa Salavat Yulayev in the KHL. He last played in the NHL with the Ottawa Senators in 2007.

-Vorobiev spent the last seven seasons playing in Russia, most recently with Yekaterinburg Automobilist in the KHL. He last played in the NHL with the Blackhawks in 2005-06.

-Sjostrom spent the past two seasons playing in the Swedish Elite League with Vastra Frolunda. He last played in the NHL in 2010-11 with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

-Ballard broke into the NHL in 2005-06, four seasons after being drafted, and has been a steady defenseman for eight seasons, spending the past three with the Vancouver Canucks.

-Carter has been an excellent top six forward in the NHL for eight seasons, winning the Cup with Los Angeles last season.

-Tukonen has spent the past six season in the Finnish Elite League, mostly with Lukko Rauma. He last played in the NHL in 2007-08 with the Kings.

-Like Carter, Kopitar has been a very good top six forward in the NHL for eight seasons and also won a Cup with the Kings last season.

-Bernier has played five seasons in the NHL as a quality backup goalie with the Kings. Still just 24, he is a coveted goalie as a future starter blocked by Jonathan Quick. Bernier is also a Cup-winner with L.A.

-Sutter was traded to Pittsburgh prior to the season and has filled in nicely as a third line center. He has five years experience in the NHL and is a reliable two-way forward as a 24-year-old.

-Beach has been a disappointment for the Blackhawks as he can’t crack the lineup after playing parts of five seasons with their AHL affiliate in Rockford.

-Ellis has played parts of two seasons with the Predators and at 22-years-old is still considered a top defensive prospect.

-Campbell is still a top prospect for the Stars at just 21, splitting time as a goalie for their AHL affiliate Texas last season.

-Siemens finished out his junior hockey career with Saskatoon this year and will likely join the Avalanche AHL affiliate in Lake Erie next season.

-Forsberg got his first taste of the NHL, playing five games with Nashville after being traded there by the Caps for Martin Erat and Michael Latta.

As you can see, there have been mixed results with the No. 11 pick. Some have been misses for sure, but teams who draft certain positions well have landed winners.

The Flyers were spot-on with Carter. The Kings got it right with Kopitar. The Predators, who always seem to draft defensemen well, are excited about Ellis. Sutter and Ballard have been reliable pros. And although it’s too early to say on a few of the players, the rate of long-term success for that pick appears to be at about 50 percent, which is somewhat risky.

The Flyers can lean on the fact that many believe the 2013 draft will be the strongest draft class since 2003 and that could improve their odds.

And while there’s no question that the Flyers recognize their needs at the NHL level on defense, there’s no guarantee they will draft defense there – as they’ve had excellent first round success at picking forwards. However, this is a very deep stock of defensive prospects in the draft, so the odds of the best player available being a defenseman is more favorable than usual.

Most mock drafts are pretty consistent with the first seven picks in the draft, in some way, be a combination of the following players: Seth Jones (D), Nathan McKinnnon (C), Jonathan Drouin (LW), Alexsander Barkov (C), Valeri Nichushkin (F), Sean Monahan(C) and Elias Lindholm (F).

But from there, the mocks seem to vary, which is also where teams tend to jockey for position as they try to get coveted players.

Which is why now, five weeks from draft day, the list is still 10 names long. As the next month progresses and the list gets a little shorter, we’ll go more in depth on a few of these names, but, for now, we’ll just give you a short biography of the names you need to know.

Here they are, by position, and in no particular order:


Darnell Nurse (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL) – If he ends up here, the media attention will be more focused on the fact that he’s Donovan McNabb’s nephew than it will on his game, which fits the bill perfectly for the Flyers.

Darnell Nurse is a top defensive prospect in the upcoming NHL Draft.

He has size on his side (6-foot-5) and he plays a nasty physical style, but what has allowed his stock to rise is his major improvements this past season in his mobility and skating. He doesn’t have the greatest shot and definitely needs to improve his “hockey sense,” but overall Nurse is considered a can’t miss prospect who reminds many long-time scouts of Chris Pronger at the same age.

Nikita Zadorov (London Knights, OHL) – This could be the guy the Flyers target because of what he brings to the table. He’s big at 6-5, 230. He’s nimble. Yes, that’s a word usually used for smaller players, but it accurately describes Zadorov. He’s an excellent skater for his size – much like Braydon Coburn – but Zadorov also has an edge to his game that would be welcome here. Many scouts think his potential is really high. In one interview with, Mark Hunter, GM of the Knights and former NHLer, compared Zadorov to Larry Robinson. That’s some high praise.

Samuel Morin (Rimouski Oceanic, QMJHL) – Another big-bodied defenseman with a taste for nastiness. Consider this quote about Morin: “Play Physical. Dish out some cross checks or slashes; that’s (his) game.” The person who said that about Morin? How about Morin himself. Yes, he needs to develop a shot and work on a good first pass, but he is definitely a fearless defensive defenseman and he will be terrorizing forwards in the NHL in the not-too-distant future.

Rasmus Ristolainen (TPS Turku, Finnish Elite League) – O.K., so he’s the fourth consecutive defenseman mentioned who is big, physical and mean on the ice – which should tell you the kind of defenseman the Flyers are looking for.

Rasmus Ristolainen is pretty close to NHL-ready after playing against pros in the competitive Finnish Elite League.

But there’s more to Ristolainen. He has poise – playing with men in the competitive Finnish league. His positioning on the ice belies his age. He is also rangy and can skate and move the puck well too. He may be the most well-rounded of the defensemen listed here and may be the closest to NHL ready, even if others may have a higher ceiling.

Ryan Pulock (Brandon Wheat Kings WHL) – Here’s a different look – a defenseman who has loads of offensive ability already. Scouts have been salivating over his shot from the point for three seasons now. He’s also a smart defenseman who makes good, quick decisions and is getting praise from scouts for his smarts. The one negative about Pulock is he is more methodical as a skater. He moves well, but doesn’t have an extra gear, and that sometimes means he can’t make up for a positional mistake or a breakdown.


Hunter Shinkaruk (Medicine Hat Tigers, WHL) – If the Flyers choose to go with a forward at No. 11 and Shikaruk is there, he’d be a great fit. Much will be made of his lack of size, but in a game built around speed, size isn’t as relevant if you can outskate everyone else, and that’s what Shinkaruk can do at times. A lot of times, though, speedy forwards lack the hands to be elite scorers. Not this kid. He’s smooth, has elite vision, and plays every shift with enthusiasm and determination. He’s not afraid to grind and dig for the puck in the hard areas of the ice. If there’s a downside, it’s his defensive game. But many players like him (think Danny Briere) have had successful careers being offensively-minded.

Max Domi (London Knights, OHL) – The notion of having a Domi on the Flyers might make some Flyers fans’ blood boil.

Max Domi may wear his dad's (Tie Domi) number, but that's where the on-ice simiarities stop.

But, although Max is Tie’s son, and he has a matching personality, their games are definitely different. If Tie was known for his fists, Max is known for his hands. He’s a heck of a passer, but can also finish as well. He’s a hard worker, very determined, and has his dad to help push him and let him know what it takes to make the NHL. The knock on Max Domi is his quickness, which needs to improve, but that can as he matures. Otherwise, the skill set is there.

Bo Horvat (London Knights, OHL) – One scout said, “Horvat is a future Selke Trophy candidate.” Watch him play both ways. He’s got offensive ability for sure, but he is a devilish back-checker who kills penalties aggressively, blocks shots, ties up the best players on the opposition with physicality. But his offensive explosion in the OHL and Memorial Cup playoffs – 16 playoff goals, including the game-winner with one second remaining in the OHL final, has made his stock rise to where he must be considered at pick No. 11.

Anthony Mantha (Val d’Or Foreurs, QMJHL) – On the offensive end of the ice, the 6-4 Mantha is a beast.

Anthony Mantha is a forward with size and skill, something that has attracted the Flyers in drafts past.

He’s got a big frame and uses it well on the forecheck to create time and space for himself on offense. He’s received comparisons to both Max Pacioretty and Milan Michalek, which are nice players to add to your prospect stable. If there’s a deficiency in his game it’s his defensive play and sometimes taking the easy way out of a situation instead of skating that extra stride or accepting contact on a play, but those are correctable flaws for sure.

Frederic Gauthier (Rimouski Oceanic, QMJHL) – Looking for another Jordan Staal type of player? Then Gauthier is your man. He’s got size at 6-4, is a smart two-way player who values the defensive aspect of a center’s game but also has good offensive ability. His speed isn’t elite and his mistakes now come out of trying too hard at times, but is a player who projects as a future third line, NHL center.

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37

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