NHL Draft a family affair on 2nd day
Sons, grandsons, nephews of former players selected
Fathers and sons celebrated Saturday as the NHL draft went into high gear for rounds two through seven.
Lemieux, MacInnis, Smith and Donato were soon off the board. Turgeon, Wesley, Mantha, Marchment, Nanne and Audette followed as picks were announced in rapid-fire fashion at Wells Fargo Center.
And, of course, there was another Sutter
For some of the kids, the wait from Friday's first round was agonizing.
"Definitely I was disappointed," said Brendan Lemieux, son of four-time Stanley Cup champion Claude Lemieux. "I expected to be a first-round pick and never really even looked at the second round. But that being said, things have a way of working out, And I think it could be a blessing in disguise that I had to wait it out.
"I'm proud to be picked with the first pick of the second round. I'm just going to use it as fuel."
The Barrie Colts winger, who went 31st overall to the Buffalo Sabres to open Saturday's second stage of the draft, also got some fatherly advice
"At the end of the day, as I told him this morning, I was a second-round pick myself and it worked out pretty well," said Claude Lemieux, the 1995 Conn Smythe winner who played for the Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, Colorado Avalanche, Phoenix Coyotes, Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks. "Maybe it's a blessing."
Claude was taken 26th overall in the '83 draft by the Canadiens.
Kitchener Rangers centre Ryan MacInnis, son of Hall of Fame defenceman Al MacInnis, went 43rd overall to the Arizona Coyotes. Oshawa winger Hunter Smith, nephew of Brad Smith, was taken 54th overall by Calgary. High school centre Ryan Donato, son of Ted Donato, went two picks later in the second round to Boston.
The third round saw Portland centre Dominic Turgeon, son of Pierre Turgeon go to Detroit 63rd overall while Plymouth defenceman Josh Wesley, son of Glen Wesley, went to Carolina (96th overall) and USHL defenceman Ryan Mantha, nephew of Moe Mantha Jr., went to the Rangers (104th overall). The Rangers took high school defenceman Tyler Nanne, grandson of Lou Nanne, in the fifth round before Montreal picked Sherbrooke centre Daniel Audette, son of Donald Audette 147th overall.
Belleville centre Jake Marchment, nephew of Bryan Marchment, went 157th overall to Los Angeles in the sixth round. Red Deer centre Lukas Sutter, son of Rich Sutter and connected to a bunch more Sutters, went in the seventh round, 200th overall, to the Islanders.
And there were more bloodline picks.
The kids bring their own skills to the table, but could not escape comparisons to their famous relatives.
How is your shot, Ryan MacInnis was asked in reference to his dad's howitzer from the point.
"Not as good as his," was the reply.
Dominic Turgeon also reminded reporters he was a different player than his father.
"He was a highly offensive player in the NHL," said Turgeon Jr. "I feel like right now my game is very strong defensively. But I feel like as time goes on, my offensive game is going to really jump into new perspectives."
Claude Lemieux, playing the role of father rather than on-ice agitator, downplayed any comparisons.
"I don't know about that, big shoes to fill," he said when asked about following in his footsteps. "I was pretty hated. Hopefully he's not like that."
Daniel Audette also got some advice from his father, who was picked in the ninth round (183rd overall) of the 1989 draft.
"Just to enjoy the moment," said Daniel. "He came out really late in the draft and told me that he still had a wonderful day, one of the best days of his life. That's the way I took it today."
Donald Audette, a scout with the Canadiens, played no part in Montreal's pre-draft discussions on his son. He was asked to leave the room when his son came up.
"I think it's more difficult watching your son go through [the draft than doing it yourself]," said Audette Sr. "Because as a father, nobody wants to see his kid getting hurt or anything like that."
There was a run on goalies in the second round with the Calgary Flames taking Mason McDonald of the Charlotte Islanders 34th overall by the Calgary Flames.
McDonald did not stress over the second-day selection.
"I actually had a pretty good sleep," he said. "I thought about it a little before I went to bed. It was the night before that really got me, I didn't get any sleep, but [Friday] night I got back to the hotel, had a bite to eat and passed out right away."
Thatcher Demko of Boston College went two picks later to the Vancouver Canucks. Fellow goalies Alex Nedeljkovic of the Plymouth Whalers went next to Carolina while Czech netminder Vitek Vanecek was taken 39th overall by Washington.
Demko, from San Diego, becomes the highest-drafted California-born goalie in NHL history.
Sault Ste. Marie goalie Brandon Halverson also went in the second round, 59th overall, to the Rangers.
Some 210 players from 12 countries were drafted. Canada led the way with 77 followed by 67 for the U.S. representing that country's highest percentage (32 per cent) of selections.