IT'S ALL IN THE GENES
There are some familiar names in this year's draft class
Good genes can go a long way.
Many of the prospects hoping to be selected during the NHL Draft on Sunday have relatives who are athletes that have competed at the highest levels.
Some bloodlines from the hockey world feature names that may jump out at you. Impress your friends while watching the draft when you ramble off a player’s lineage before Pierre McGuire does.
- Max Domi, ranked 19th on NHL Central Scouting’s list of the top North American skaters, scored 39 goals in 64 games for the OHL’s London Knights. His dad is former NHL enforcer Tie Domi, who racked up over 3,500 penalty minutes with the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets. He fought a current Buffalo Sabres broadcaster on a few memorable occasions. No, not Harry Neale.
- Left wing prospect Kerby Rychel of the Windsor Spitfires is the son of former NHL tough guy Warren Rychel.
- Goaltender Brendan Burke is the son of Sean Burke, a three-time NHL All-Star who now works in the Phoenix Coyotes front office.
- Cole Cassels, 120th among North American Skaters, is the son of Andrew Cassels, who played 1,015 games in the NHL.
- Adam Tambellini, No. 42 on Central Scouting’s list, comes from a hockey family as well. His father, Steve, served as the general manager of the Edmonton Oilers and his brother, Jeff, played in the NHL for three seasons.
- Center Ryan Fitzgerald’s father, Tom, played for seven NHL teams and is currently the Pittsburgh Penguins’ assistant to the general manager. Ryan was also named MVP of the inaugural All-American Prospects Game last September in Buffalo.
- Oliver Bjorkstrand, ranked 36th by Central Scouting, is the son of Todd Bjorkstrand. The elder Bjorkstrand played and has coached in Denmark.
- Goalie Anthony Brodeur, the son of New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, is also eligible to be drafted this year.
- Andre Burakowsky is No. 6 on Central Scouting’s list of European skaters. His father, Robert, was drafted by the Rangers in 1985 and spent most of his career playing in Europe.
- Sabres fans will recognize the name Daniel LaFontaine. Ranked 195th by Central Scouting among North American skaters, he’s the son of former Sabres captain Pat LaFontaine.
- Former Sabre Randy Wood’s kid, Miles, is in the draft this year, too.
Basically, if you were born in 1994 or ’95 and your dad played pro hockey, there’s a good chance an NHL team is interested in you.
- Anthony Mantha is the grandson of Andre Pronovost, who won four Stanley Cups in the 1950s with the Montreal Canadiens. Mantha’s great uncles also played in the NHL. Mantha put up 89 points last season and is No. 10 on Central Scouting’s list of North American skaters.
- Eric Comrie, the second-highest rated North American goalie, is the half-brother of former NHL players Mike and Paul Comrie. Mike is the one married to Lizzie McGuire (no relation to Pierre).
- Forward prospect Peter Quenneville of the Dubuque Fighting Saints is the second cousin of Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. Coach Quenneville, of course, won the Stanley Cup for the second time Monday.
- Defenseman Jordan Subban is likely to be the third member of his family to be drafted. His brother, P.K., just won the Norris Trophy with Montreal. The Boston Bruins selected his other brother, Malcolm, in the first round in 2012. They’re like the new Staals.
- Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi’s nephew, Tyler Bertuzzi, could be drafted. Central Scouting projects him as a seventh-round pick.
Other highly touted prospects have athletic family ties, too. Their relatives just didn’t play hockey.
- Defenseman Seth Jones, Central Scouting’s No. 1 North American skating prospect, is the son of former NBA power forward Popeye Jones. Popeye is now an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets.
- Buffalo native Justin Bailey’s father, Carlton, played for the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants and Carolina Panthers during a 10-year NFL career.
- Darnell Nurse, No. 4 on Central Scouting’s list, is former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb’s nephew. But it doesn’t stop there. Nurse’s father, Richard, was a wide receiver in the Canadian Football League for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. His mother, Cathy, starred on a collegiate basketball team in Ontario and his aunt, Raquel, played basketball at Syracuse. The defenseman’s sisters, Tamika and Kia, are also accomplished basketball players. Their house sigil is probably a running man drinking a protein shake.
- Defensive prospect Jonathan-Ismael Diaby’s father played professional soccer in the Ivory Coast, according to an article in The Hockey News.
- Center Frederik Gauthier’s mother, Sophie Normandin, was an international swimmer. He elected to compete on frozen water and his dedication earned him the eighth spot in Central Scouting’s rankings of North American skaters.
- Richard Meyer, the grandfather of left wing prospect JT Compher, played basketball at the University of Michigan. Compher will follow in his grandfather’s footsteps as he is committed to play hockey at Michigan in the fall. Compher scored 42 points in 49 games last season in the United States Hockey League for the USA Under-18 Team.
- Zach Nastasiuk, Central Scouting’s 13th best North American skater, comes from an entire household of athletes. His father, Paul, played in the CFL; his mother, Sue, played collegiate basketball, and his sister, Samantha, plays hockey for the Western Mustangs. No word on if Nastasiuk has a baby brother named Jack-Jack.
The NHL Draft starts at 3 p.m. Sunday from Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Stay locked in to Sabres.com throughout the week for coverage of the draft and to see where these prospects and many more wind up.