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NHL Draft

2021 Draft: Sons who could follow fathers to NHL

Boucher, Sillinger, Stillman among prospects trying to continue family tradition

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

The 2021 NHL Draft will be held July 23-24. The first round will be July 23 (8 p.m. ET; ESPN2, SN, SN NOW, TVAS) and rounds 2-7 are July 24 (11 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN, SN NOW). NHL.com is counting down to the draft with profiles and other features. Today, a look at some players projected to go early in the draft with a father who played in the League. NHL.com's full draft coverage can be found here

Tyler Boucher of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team discovered his calling as a future top power forward despite previous visions of following in the footsteps of his father as a goalie.

"He played goalie a few times in a summer league where they were switching goalies around, and he had goalie gear," said hockey broadcast analyst Brian Boucher, Tyler's father. "But my wife (Melissa) was adamant she did not want him playing goalie. I think she had a tough enough time with my career, so she didn't want to relive the torture again."

Said Tyler, "I liked goalie, but at the same time, I kind of wanted to do my own thing. I look up to my dad a lot but wanted to carve my own path and be my own person."

Brian Boucher, chosen No. 22 by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1995 NHL Draft, played 328 NHL games in 13 seasons with seven teams. He retired as a player in 2013.

"Tyler kept asking about (goalie), and we just said, 'Well, you've got to be a good skater and then, once we get to a certain level, then you can commit to it,' but by then he lost interest in it," Boucher said. "Even today, he can't believe he ever mentioned he wanted to be a goalie because he couldn't imagine facing shots like that in practice where guys are teeing them up at your head."

Tyler Boucher (6-foot-1, 205 pounds), No. 25 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, focused instead on what it would take to become an effective forward when he was 8 years old. 

"I play a little bit of an old-school, modern-style type of game," Tyler Boucher said. "I'm a skilled power forward who can skate, can shoot the puck pretty hard, and can score from a lot of areas. I think the thing that separates me is I play with an edge. I feel I do bring that presence every time I play."

The 18-year-old had a knee scope April 2 but returned to the ice in May to begin his training and preparation for his freshman season at Boston University in 2021-22. He was out six weeks with pneumonia before sustaining his knee injury. 

"I think I faced every obstacle you could probably face in hockey season," Tyler said. "I did get down on myself sometimes, but I believe everything happens for a reason and I think, if anything, I learned how to be positive through tough times."

Boucher scored 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 12 games (0.92 points per game) with the NTDP under-18 team before sustaining his injury. He scored 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 43 games with the Under-17 team in 2019-20.

"I think he's learning what his game is," Brian Boucher said. "Tyler's learned that his strength is his power, his size, and he plays with an edge. He's a throwback player in the sense that he's a guy that loves to play physical. He likes the big hit, but he also likes making plays and creating offense down low so that's where he's really developed his game."

Here are four other players with NHL fathers expected to be selected in the 2021 NHL Draft (listed alphabetically):

Cole Sillinger (6-0, 197), C, Sioux Falls (USHL): Sillinger joined Sioux Falls on loan from Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League on Jan. 10 after his WHL season was put on hold due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. He was named United States Hockey League Rookie of the Year after scoring 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) in 31 games and is No. 10 in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters. The son of former NHL center Mike Sillinger scored 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists) in a 14-game point streak from Feb. 19-March 27. Mike Sillinger was selected No. 11 by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1989 NHL Draft and played for 12 teams over 17 NHL seasons. 

Josh Doan (6-2, 180), RW, Chicago (USHL): The son of former NHL forward Shane Doan is No. 87 in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters. He ranked third in USHL scoring with 70 points (31 goals, 39 assists) in 53 games and was tied for fifth with nine power-play goals. The 19-year-old was passed over in the 2020 NHL Draft even though Central Scouting had him No. 181 in its final North American rankings for skaters. He's committed to Arizona State University in 2021-22.

Redmond Savage (5-11, 180), C, USA U-18 (USHL): The 18-year-old is No. 54 in Central Scouting's ranking of North American skaters after scoring 42 points (18 goals, 24 assists) and taking 72 shots on goal in 46 games with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team. Savage, who scored one goal in five games for the United States at the 2021 IIHF Under-18 World Championship, will continue his career at Miami University (Ohio) in 2021-22. He's the son of Brian Savage, who also attended Miami (1990-93), was selected in the eighth round (No. 171) by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1991 NHL Draft and played 674 NHL games at forward over 12 seasons with four teams.  

Chase Stillman (6-1, 180), RW, Sudbury (OHL): The 18-year-old, No. 35 in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, scored 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in eight games on loan to Esbjerg in Denmark's under-20 league. He scored four points (two goals, two assists) in seven games for first-place Canada at the 2021 IIHF Under-18 World Championship. His father, Cory Stillman, played 1,025 NHL games as a forward over 16 seasons with six teams and won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004 and the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. 

Others to watch: Ryan St. Louis, LW, USA U-18 (NTDP), son of former NHL forward Martin St. Louis; Shane Lachance, LW, Junior Bruins (NCDC), son of former NHL defenseman Scott Lachance; Nick Malik, G, Frydek-Mistek (CZREP-2), son of former NHL defenseman Marek Malik; Justin Robidas, C, Val-d'Or (QMJHL), son of former NHL defenseman Stephane Robidas

Photo credit: Rena Laverty, NTDP

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