Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blood Is Thicker Than Water Pt. 1

When Bruins Director of Player Personnel Scott Bradley was the team's chief amateur scout, he liked drafting "bloodlines"-- that is, sons or relatives of proven NHL players.

This trend for the B's started in 2002, when they grabbed a former division rival, the great Peter Stastny's son, Yan Stastny, in the eighth round. A year later, Boston selected the scion of one of the team's old Bruins killers, Pierre Mondou when they took his son, Benoit Mondou in the eighth round. In 2004, Boston got another former Hab kid in Ben Walter, whose father Ryan was an outstanding two-way forward with the Canadiens and Capitals. In 2005, their bloodlines pick went to a European player, Petr Kalus, whose father of the same name was a Czech pro league star. In 2006, they picked Milan Lucic, whose uncle, Dan Kesa was an NHL forward mostly with the Vancouver Canucks. Additonally, top selection Phil Kessel's (who, thanks to his trade to Toronto is responsible for this blog!) dad was a pro football player, a quarterback drafted by the Washington Redskins who played in the Canadian Football League. 2007 broke the string, but they went back to the bloodlines with a pair of players, first taking Max Sauve, son of NHLer J.F. Sauve and nephew of Bob Sauve (and cousin of Bruin-for-a-minute Philippe Sauve) in the second round. They followed up in the fourth round with former Bruin Scott Arniel's nephew, Jamie Arniel. In 2010, Lane MacDermid, whose father Paul was a pest with the Hartford Whalers back in the kelly green days of the black and blue rivalry with the B's, had his name called in the fourth round. Final pick Ben Sexton's dad Randy is the current Florida Panthers GM and former Ottawa Senators manager as well. He didn't play in the NHL, but was an accomplished collegian at St. Lawrence University.

The 2010 draft class has no shortage of sons and relatives of former NHLers looking to add to the family legacy.

In the first round, Minnesota super high schooler Nick Bjugstad, a preseason favorite for the state's prestigious Mr. Hockey designation, ranked solidly in the first round- always a good sign before the season starts, as major junior and European players are able to showcase their talents ahead of the high school prospects. His uncle, Scott, played on the 1984 U.S Olympic Team and had one 40-goal NHL season with his hometown Minnesota North Stars amidst a journeyman career spent bouncing between the NHL and minors.

Jarred Tinordi is a chip off the old block- his dad, Mark was a hard-hitting defenseman who played mostly for the North Stars and Washington Capitals. At 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, he has a lot of filling out to do, but is on the U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team in Ann Arbor, where he'll get the conditioning and hockey focus that should stand him in good stead when he jumps to the NCAA.

Another Minnesota player from Warroad H.S., big center Brock Nelson, is related to a player who should register with B's fans. His uncle, Dave Christian was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic "Miracle on Ice" team and played for the Bruins from 1989-91, skating on the last Boston squad to reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 1990. He is currently projected as a second-rounder who could move up if he was a big year with the Warriors. Another Warroad High alum- T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues, beat the Bruins in a memorable shootout game last season

Another Brock-- Brock Beukeboom-- the son of NHL defenseman Jeff Beukeboom, plays for the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and is big (6-1, 202) and physical like his dad. He also skates pretty well and flashed some underrated hockey skills at the Ivan Hlinka tourney as a member of Team Canada's gold medal squad.

Oshawa's Christian Thomas has gotten off to a nice scoring start with the Generals, and who is really surprised, given that his dad, Steve Thomas, was one of the most productive and unheralded scorers of his time. Besides appearing in the movie "Youngblood" Thomas was an undrafted free agent who began his NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs (and eventually finished there) became a multiple 40-goal man. His son is on the small side, but the right winger will likely keep moving up the draft boards if he keeps putting the puck in the net.

I'll be back with more bloodlines players and guys to watch with NHL family backgrounds with my next post.

I'm going away for a few days, so I may not be able to update until the weekend some time.

Thanks for reading!

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