As a lead-in to the 2008 NHL Entry Draft June 20-21 in Ottawa, Ontario, NashvillePredators.com will be taking a look at the top prospects available in this year's draft class. Today we will continue with family connections in this year's draft.
Most draft classes have ties to the past. This year's class is no different as several of the top prospects share a family bond with past NHL players.
Central Scouting's #10 North American skater, Colin Wilson
(already featured in the top North American forwards list
) is the son of former NHLer Carey Wilson, while Central Scouting's #5 and #7 European skaters Anton Gustafsson
and Viktor Tikhonov
(both already featured in the top European forwards list
) are sons of coaches. Gustafsson is the son of current Team Sweden head coach Bengt-Ake, a former NHL and European pro standout. Tikhonov is the son of former NHL assistant coach Vasily and the grandson of the legendary Soviet head coach with whom he shares a name.
But those are far from the only prospects with NHL ties in this year's draft pool. Among the others include: Maxim Sauve (Val d'Or, QMJHL) - 70 games, 26g-39a-65pts, 30 penalty minutes CSS-NA #26, HN-#45
Maxime is one of the fastest rising prospects in the QMJHL for this draft class. He is the son of former NHL Jean-Francois, while his uncle Bob Sauve played goaltender in the NHL, and his cousin Philippe Sauve was a 1998 draftee of the Colorado Avalanche.
NHL Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau
"He is a real good skater. He was traded from Quebec to Val D'Or and he had a pretty good second half on a not very good team. He has good hands and can undress guys with his stickhandling and his speed. Once he plays with better players he'll continue to improve, he can skate and for today's game that is the number one most important criteria. He needs to continue to work hard at getting stronger and to continue trying to improve his game to make it to the next level."
Jared Staal (Sudbury, OHL) - 60 games, 21g-28a-49pts, 44 penalty minutesCSS-NA #43, HN-#31
Jared is the younger brother of forwards Eric (Carolina) and Jordan (Pittsburgh) and defenseman Marc (NY Rangers). He's not rated as highly by Central Scouting as his brothers were in their draft classes, but is still viewed as a solid power-forward prospect in this deep draft.
NHL Director of Central Scouting, E.J. McGuirePhilip McRae (London, OHL) - 66 games, 18g-28a-46pts, 61 penalty minutesCSS-NA #56, HN-#66
"With the great Staal family reputation and the high expectations brought on by his brothers, Jared is coming into his own – he's just growing into his 'big Staal body', which is very similar to that of his brothers. He comes off the wing with the desire to go to the net and that, I think, will continue to grow and he's going to continue to develop on into the NHL."
Philip is son of former NHL tough-guy Basil and plays a similar power-forward style as his father. His uncle Chris McRae also saw time in the NHL. Philip participated in the 2008 Under-18 World Junior Championhips, helping Team USA to bronze medal showing.
NHL Director of Central Scouting, E.J. McGuire David Carle (Shat. St. Mary's, MN High Sch) - 55 games, 10g-34a-44pts, 59 penalty minutesCSS-NA #60, HN-#70
"Philip is a power forward just like his dad, Basil, was – he brings a scoring ability that I think will carry over when he becomes – and he will become, an NHLer. Philip needs to work on his skating and he needs to get a little more polished – as of right now he's more of a 'bull in the china shop' type power forward which every team can use. But to be a full, all-around player he needs to keep working. And there is no evidence to say the improvements that he has made this year won't continue on into his career in the skating department."
David is the younger brother of San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt. A defenseman like his older brother, David also plans on attending University of Denver, where Matt won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2004 and 2005.
NHL Central Scouting's Jack Barzee David Toews (Shat. St. Mary's, MN High Sch) - 51 games, 44g-56a-100pts, 20 penalty minutesCSS-NA #79, HN-#40, ISS-#27
"David's first two strides get him to top speed and he passes the puck and skates like a pro. He has a very heavy shot from the point and he plays the body hard. He has a strong overall game and physical presence – he displays all the same signs that his brother, Matt, had at the same age."
A teammate of David Carle's at Shattuck St. Mary's, David is the younger brother of Chicago Blackhawks star Jonathan. An offensive forward like his older brother, David plans to attend University of North Dakota, where Jonathan was a standout before jumping to the NHL this past season. Shattuck St. Mary's has been a fertile developing ground for elite offensive talent with recent alumni including Sidney Crosby, Zach Parise, and David's older brother Jonathan.
NHL Central Scouting's Jack Barzee
"Has a good shot with a quick release – moves the puck and sees the ice very well. A good skater, uses his speed to create scoring chances for himself and his linemates – has excellent hands."
Brett Theberge (Peterborough, OHL) - 55 games, 13g-26a-39pts, 45 penalty minutesCSS-NA #86
Brett is looking to become a fourth generation NHLer as father Greg, grandfather Ron Attwell, and great-grandfather (and Hall of Famer) Dit Clapper all saw time in league. Dit Clapper was the first man to play 20 seasons in the NHL and also the first player for whom the Hockey Hall of Fame waived its mandatory three-year waiting period.
NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards
"Plays a high-energy two-way game and creates scoring chances for his linemates through his hard work. He likes to battle and wins his fair share. He was used in all game situations this past season. Will need to improve on his skating in order to take his game to the next level."
Key: CSS-NA (Central Scouting-North American Goaltender Rankings), CSS-E (Central Scouting-European Goaltender Rankings), HN (The Hockey News), ISS (International Scouting Services)