Father-son combinations are nothing new to the NHL. Two years ago, onlookers watched the then-Phoenix Coyotes draft Henrik Samuelsson (No. 27 overall), the son of former NHL stalwart Ulf Samuelsson, who works within the Coyotes organization.
Other father-son combinations exist, including Dave and Sam, but none were more prevalent than Bobby and Brett Hull, who combined for an amazing 1,351 goals and 2,561 points.
Could there be another powerhouse in the making?
Al MacInnis was the perennial two-way defenseman in the 1990s, playing a superior defensive game (won the Norris Trophy in 1999) while mixing it with the booming slapshot for which he is known (winning NHL All-Star Skills Competition’s hardest shot seven times with a wooden stick).
MacInnis, the senior advisor to the general manager for the St. Louis Blues, will have the honor of watching his son, Ryan, begin his NHL career this weekend. It’s up to the Blues draft team and the franchise’s general manager, Doug Armstrong, to decide if he will wear the same crest his father wore for a decade.
With the 21st pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the St. Louis Blues are proud to select…
From the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL, Ryan MacInnis
Where he’s at
MacInnis, a center, has surely learned one thing from his Hall of Fame father: the two-way game. The recently turned 18-year old accumulated 16 goals and 37 points in 66 games while with the Rangers, but was the team’s go-to choice for defensive situations, whether it was taking a defensive-zone draw or killing off a penalty .
“I realize that the defensive side of being a centerman is very important,” MacInnis told NHL.com in May. “Everyone needs to play defense so you can win games.”
His offensive numbers seem forgettable, but THW draft analyst Shawn Reznik reminds us that first-year players may not produce at the level of seasoned OHLers.
…many scouts aren’t worried quite yet. The first season for a 17-year old can be a daunting task for any newcomer to the OHL. Results usually get better after they’ve had a season under their belt. Ryan has a lot of room to grow, in his game and his body.
Standing at 6 feet, 4 inches, MacInnis has a size and reach advantage over his father. He lacks speed burst when he gets going, but he has a fluid motion in his strides, proving that another year or two in the OHL will make him a top-notch skater.
Kitchener head coach Troy Smith used MacInnis mostly in front of the net, using his large frame to block the goaltender’s view. This equated to six of his 16 goals coming with the man advantage, which tied for the team lead.
Where he will be
Earlier this past season, MacInnis was ranked to go in the second or third round, but NHL scouts have liked his willingness to improve his game and make a name for himself — rather than disappearing into the giant shadow his father casts.
“He improved over the second half of the season with his mobility and speed to position himself to create more offensively, be on the attack and shoot really well,” David Gregory of NHL Central Scouting said in May. “I think Ryan has handled himself very well considering who his dad is. I give him credit for playing under that spotlight and continuing to work on his game.”
His hard work has led to him becoming a possible first-round selection; NHL Network’s mock draft, which aired Wednesday night, saw him taken in the first round.
Much like our look at Jordan Schmaltz’s brother, Nick, selecting a relative within the organization can always be tricky. While nobody knows Ryan’s potential better than his father, you run the risk of overvaluing him and taking him too high. The reverse could be true, too, as the Blues could pass on selecting him when they should because management feels they know too much about the prospect personally.
When picking at No. 21, the Blues will likely see a more-talented prospect remain on the draft board. Although MacInnis’ potential could be a great fit to the Blues’ system in a few years, St. Louis would be better served taking someone with a little more offensive upside.
There are two scenarios where the Blues could take the young MacInnis:
1. He is still available when the Blues make their first second-round selection at No. 33.
2. The Blues swing a deal that gives them another pick at the end of the first round.
One thing is for sure: all those years of skating with his dad is sure to pay off when his name is called this weekend. Whether it’s by the team he grew up watching will remain to be seen until the moment comes.
Stay tuned to TheHockeyWriters.com for draft coverage leading up to this weekend.
Follow Jeff on Twitter for all St. Louis Blues draft coverage: @jponder94
Check out the other parts of this series to prepare yourself for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft!