MONTREAL — Selections in the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft had their share of ties and bloodlines connected to the League both past and present.
Forward Conor Geekie, selected by the Arizona Coyotes with the 11th pick, is the younger brother of Seattle Kraken forward morgan geekie. Defenseman Christian Kyrou, selected in the second round (No. 50) by the Dallas Stars, is the younger brother of St. Louis Blues forward Jordan Kyro.
Kyrou, who’s coming off a breakout season (NHL career-high 75 points in 74 games), was his brother’s biggest fan in the stands at Bell Center when Christian’s name was called Friday.
“Obviously I’m super proud of him,” Jordan Kyrou told the Blues web site. “I think I’m more happy than I was at my own draft. Seeing your little brother get drafted, it’s amazing.”
Conor Geekie said he was already a part of an NHL dream through his brother Morgan, who was selected in the third round (No. 67) in the 2017 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes before being selected by the Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft . Now, Conor said he’s excited to begin a new journey of his own.
“You obviously kind of experience it going with him,” Conor Geekie said of his brother. “You see what happens when he goes through all his things about him. I would n’t say we solely talk about hockey, it comes up in the conversation, but it’s just how he carries himself. Hard work will always get you there coming from where he came from.”
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There were a total of 28 bloodline connections to players selected in the 2022 draft, with family members ranging from fathers to brothers, uncles, cousins and even grandfathers.
In the first round alone, there were five players with past NHL family connections: Philadelphia Flyers forward Cutter Gauthier (fifth pick; father Sean was drafted by Winnipeg Jets in 1991), Buffalo Sabers forward Matthew Savoie (ninth pick; brother Carter Savoie was drafted by Edmonton Oilers in 2020), Conor Geekie (11th pick), Blues forward Jimmy Snuggerud (23rd pick; father Dave played 265 NHL games) and Jets forward Brad Lambert (30th pick; uncle Lane Lambert is coach of New York Islanders).
“Proud big brother moment,” Carter Savoie told the Oilers web site Thursday. “We’ve been so close for so long, so many years. Just to see all of his hard work and dedication to the game and how much success he’s going to have at the next level, I’m just excited to see him keep on growing.”
Kent Hughes, general manager of the draft host Montreal Canadiens, was able to watch his son, Jack Hughesbe selected in the second round (No. 51) by the Los Angeles Kings.
Another notable father-son connection from the draft was defenseman Jorian Donovan, selected by the Ottawa Senators in the fifth round (No. 136); his father, Shean, was selected by the San Jose Sharks in the second round (No. 28) in the 1993 NHL Draft and played 951 NHL games for seven teams, including the one that ended up drafting his son Friday.
“I was a little young but I do have a bit of memories of standing in the stands, watching him play, and then after the game seeing him in the room, and stuff like that,” Jorian Donovan said of his father’s NHL career. “It was super special, and just to be drafted to a team that he played for is unbelievable.”
Forward Zam Plante, drafted in the fifth round (No. 150) by the Pittsburgh Penguins, is the son of Derek Plante, who played 450 NHL games and won the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999. Although Zam wasn’t born until 2004, I have watched old YouTube videos of his father.
Zam said that his father did not attend the 1989 NHL Draft, when he was picked in the eighth round (No. 161) by the Sabres, and was notified of his selection while mowing his lawn. So the Plante family was able to enjoy their first draft experience together.
“It’s like the best feeling ever, they helped me get here, so having them here was a dream come true,” Zam Plante said of his father and family. “Playing in the NHL and being in hockey his whole life, he’s really had a lot of good knowledge to help me succeed.”