Our mock NHL draft: Flyers select Ristolainen

LAKE PLACID, NY - AUGUST 07: Rasmus Ristolainen #5 of Team Finland skates against Team Sweden at the USA hockey junior evaluation camp at the Lake Placid Olympic Center on August 7, 2012 in Lake Placid, New York. Team Sweden defeated Finland 8-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

So who will the Flyers select in the first round of Sunday's NHL draft in Newark?

Here are our projections for the first half of theopening round, including the Flyers’ pick at No. 11:

Pick   Team           Player                        Pos.

1. Colorado   Nathan MacKinnon  C

Comment: The determined MacKinnon has all the tools, but will the Avs regret passing on Seth Jones?

2. Florida       Seth Jones            D

Comment: The top-rated overall player according to Central Scouting, Jones will step right into the Panthers’ lineup and develop into a franchise player.

3. Tampa Bay  Jonathan Drouin    LW

Comment: Regarded as the draft’s best playmaker, he will be setting up Steven Stamkos for many years to come.

4. Nashville  Aleksander Barkov    C

Comment: Viewed as a can’t-miss prospect, he is the top-rated European player in the draft.

5. Carolina   Sean Monahan         C

Comment: Respected for his two-way play, Monahan had 31 goals and 78 points in 58 OHL games last season.

6. Calgary  Valeri Nichushkin       RW

Comment: The rugged, 6-4, 202-pound Russian has a nose for the net and, as a 17-year-old, played in the KHL.

7. Edmonton    Darnell Nurse       D

Comment: The Flyers would like to move up in the draft and grab Donovan McNabb’s nephew, a player who has been compared to a young Shea Weber.

8. Buffalo         Elias Lindholm    C

Comment: He starred in Sweden’s top pro league last season and he would bolster the Sabres’ sad-sack offense. 

9. New Jersey    Hunter Shinkaruk     C/LW

Comment: He would replace some of the offense the Devils lost when Zach Parise left Newark for free agency last summer.

10. Dallas     Ryan Pulock          D

Comment: Another defenseman who is high on the Flyers’ radar, Pulock has a 100 m.p.h. tracer of a slapshot.

11. FLYERS    Rasmus Ristolainen   D

Comment: The RH-shooting Finn plays with a nasty edge and is a solid two-way performer who could be NHL-ready.

12. Phoenix  Max Domi       C/LW

Comment: The little guy plays with quickness and power and will be a scorer, not a tough guy like his dad, Tie.

13. Winnipeg Nikita Zadorov   D

Comment: He moves surprisingly well for his size (6-5, 228) and will be an intimidating player on D.

14. Columbus      Sam Morin    D

Comment: Another in a long list of quality D-men in the draft, the 6-6 Morin is raw but talented.

15. NY Islanders   Zach Fucale G

Comment: The top goalie in the draft, Fucale will be strongly considered by several teams, including the Devils and Flyers.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.