Darryl Dyck, Canadian Press
Okay, maybe I am getting old, but this year it seems (more than many others) that there is an inordinate amount of professional hockey legacy children entering the draft. Some names are near the top of the board and draw from the best bloodlines in hockey, while others hail from hockey families and couldn’t help but acquire some skills of the game. Let’s take a quick look down the projected draft boards and meet some children and relatives of former (and current) NHL’ers.
The First Round Boys:
- Matthew Tkachuk, Left Wing, from the London Knights of the OHL (Ontario Hockey League – Dale Hunter’s program). He’s 6’2” and 190lbs with a great shot, amazing hockey IQ, and a ton of (near) NHL-ready upside. It is looking like the child prodigy of former NHL sniper Keith Tkachuk will be a top-5 pick and a future star in the league.
- Alexander Nylander, plays both Wing, and spent 57 games with Mississauga of the OHL last season racking up the points. He’s a slight 6’0” and 185lbs who needs to pack on some NHL sized muscle, but having the skating ability of his papa (former Capital Michael Nylander), and the ready-made hockey IQ of his NHL brother (Leaf’s prospect William) make him a go-to Top 10 pick for sure.
- Pierre-Luc Dubois, a Winger out of Cape Breton of the QMJHL is the son of former NHL prospect Eric Dubois (drafted in the 4th round by Quebec in 1989). Pierre-Luc is a Top-10 projected draft talent with good two-way ability and athleticism. His strong skating allows him to backcheck hard, make good transitions, and he is a lethal open-ice hitter. Some scouts put him in the Top-5 of this draft and a possible immediate NHL roster forward.
- Logan Brown, Center from the US Under-18 Development program happens to be the son of former NHLer Jeff Brown (who finished his long career in DC with a short stint in 1998). Dad Jeff was drafted in the 2nd round in 1984 and played 14 seasons in the pros for seven different teams. As a Top-10 ranked draft prospect son Logan is looking to make a big impact of his own. He’s another huge kid at 6’6” and 220lbs. Having a strong pedigree and that big frame will help the young center to hone his power game.
- Keiffer Bellows, Center, a product of the US Under-18 Development Program headed to Boston University in the Fall. He is the son of another former Washington Capital, Brian Bellows. Kieffer is a skilled power forward that can dominate games with his strength, puckhandling ability, and fast accurate shot. He is a proficient forechecker and puck battler, as well as a strong skater. With his NHL blood and high-end skill set he is a Top-15 pick in this draft.
- Jonathan Dahlen, Left Wing, Swedish Elite League product is the son of (shocking) former Washington Capital Ulf Dahlen. If he can pivot and skate even a fraction as smoothly as his dear old daddy, then he’s extremely worthy of a first round pick. Currently the 11th ranked European skater he may creep into the top 30 picks for all we know. Given his pedigree and hockey IQ a team may give a first round flyer to him, despite is smallish size and need to bulk up to play the North American game.
- Julien Gauthier, a massive Right Wing at 6’3” and 226lbs, is the nephew of retired NHL d-man Denis Gauthier who spent most of his career with the Calgary Flames (after being a 1st Round pick in the 1995 draft). Julien possesses a ton of size, and is an avid puck battling winger who can skate very well for his big frame. He is slated as a Top-20 pick in this year’s draft and could make an impact in the NHL after another year or two in the QMJHL (then minor pro).
- Brett Howden, Center, currently playing for Moose Jaw of the WHL, is the younger brother of Florida Panther (2010 draft pick) Quintin Howden. Hockey Prospect’s ranks the younger bro in the Top 30 draft eligible prospects so the 6’2”, 190lb forward may find himself as a late first round grab (possibly by our very own Capitals with the 26th pick).
- Tage Thompson, Center/Wing currently playing for the University of Connecticut is another huge kid (at 6’5”, 194lbs). His Father Brent Thompson was a 2nd round pick of the Los Angeles Kings, and a mostly career minor leaguer. While his brother Tyce is looking to make an impact in next year’s draft. Currently Tage is a Top-30 prospect and with his size and a few years of maturity he could make a big splash as a “Tom Wilson type” forward.
The Later Legacies:
- Graham McPhee, LW is the son of former Capitals GM, George McPhee. The young GM(GM) is a smallish forward with a decent stride and good hockey IQ (hopefully higher IQ than his Dad, see below). Graham is ranked in the Top-200 skaters and projects to be a very late pick, if at all.
- Frederik Forsberg, RW for Leksands IF of the Swedish League, is the brother of former Capitals draft pick (let me vomit a sec…hold on) Filip Forsberg who is currently tearing up the NHL with the Nashville Predators (thanks to Graham McPhee’s father, George). Young Frederik is ranked in the Top-100 skaters eligible and projects to be a later round pick.
- Matthew Boucher, LW, Top-200 prospect (aka a very late projected pick) is the son of QMJHL head coach and former NHL draftee Philip Boucher.