Ridly Greig didn’t have his father, Mark, at home in Lethbridge, Alberta, when the defenseman was selected by the Ottawa Senators in the first round (No. 28) of the 2020 NHL Draft on Tuesday.
Mark Greig had to watch from Voorhees, New Jersey, where he was helping the Philadelphia Flyers in his role as an amateur scout during the draft, which was held virtually.
“Job at hand first and foremost was to make sure to stay engaged in [the Flyers] pick and the process that way,” Mark Greig said Wednesday. “And then on the side, being careful with how it was playing out for Ridly and trying to enjoy that process at the same time. It’s a great day for a young player, so I wanted to make sure that I was trying to be in the moment with him as well.”
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Mark Greig, a forward, was selected by the Hartford Whalers in the first round (No. 15) of the 1990 NHL Draft and played 125 games with four teams.
“I call him quite a bit to talk about my games,” Ridly Greig said. “Growing up, my dad’s had a huge impact on my game with tips and tricks and showing me clips of me, just teaching me how the game should be played. Sometimes I’ll be feeling down after a game and he’ll call me and pick me up. He pretty much knows everything from the game, so I’m always listening when he speaks.”
Greig is far from the only 2020 draft pick who has such a valuable resource in the family. He is one of 29 draftees with NHL bloodlines — a relative who either played in the League or was drafted.
Defenseman Jake Sanderson, chosen by Ottawa at No. 5, is the son of former NHL forward Geoff Sanderson, who played 17 NHL seasons with seven teams.
“My dad’s been huge for me,” Sanderson said. “He’s been next to me every step of the way, and I’m very grateful for that. … I look up to him a lot and him giving me tips on the ice and off the ice has been nice.”
Senators general manager Pierre Dorion told NHL Network that if a player has a relative with NHL experience, the scouting staff takes it into account.
“It’s not the biggest defining factor in drafting a player, but if someone has a family member, or more importantly if a father has played in the NHL, I think they can understand and relate to their sons how it is, how the process is, the ups and downs of the NHL,” he said. “You’re not always going to have success, and I think it can be a sounding board that you can … a prospect can go to his father to get some good advice.”
There were several other first-round picks with NHL bloodlines: center Dylan Holloway, selected by the Edmonton Oilers at No. 14, is the son of defenseman Bruce Holloway, who played two games for the Vancouver Canucks in 1984-85; defenseman Kaiden Guhle (No. 16, Montreal Canadiens) is the brother of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Brendan Guhle; forward Lukas Reichel (No. 17, Chicago Blackhawks) is the nephew of forward Robert Reichel, a two-time 40-goal scorer who played 830 NHL games with four teams; forward Yegor Chinakhov (No. 21, Columbus Blue Jackets) is the son of forward Vitali Chinakhov, who was selected by the New York Rangers in the 11th round (No. 235) of the 1991 NHL Draft and played professionally in Russia; defenseman Justin Barron (No. 25, Colorado Avalanche) is the brother of New York Rangers forward prospect Morgan Barron; and forward Jacob Perreault (No. 27, Ducks) is the son of Blackhawks development coach Yanic Perreault, a forward who played 14 NHL seasons with six teams.
Center Brendan Brisson, selected by the Vegas Golden Knights at No. 29, is the son of agent Pat Brisson, whose clients include Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon.
“Growing up with a father in the business, having guys around the house was a normal thing to me,” Brisson said. “At the time you don’t really realize how important it is to a young player developing until I look back on it now. I always wanted to do what they were doing. … Looking back, I took so many of those experiences with them to heart and I felt it helped me perform and get better as a player.”
Players drafted Wednesday in Rounds 2-7 who are related to former NHL players included: center Thomas Bordeleau (second round, No. 38, San Jose Sharks), the son of forward Sebastien Bordeleau, who played seven NHL seasons with four teams and is forward development coach with the Nashville Predators; center Jack Finley (second round No. 57, Tampa Bay Lightning), the son of defenseman Jeff Finley, who played 15 NHL seasons with six teams and is an amateur scout with the Winnipeg Jets; defenseman Michael Benning (fourth round, No. 95, Florida Panthers), the son of defenseman Brian Benning, who played 10 NHL seasons with five teams, and is the nephew of Canucks GM Jim Benning; forward Ryder Rolston (fifth round, No. 139, Avalanche), the son of forward Brian Rolston, who played 1,256 NHL games with five teams and won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 1995; defenseman Mason Langenbrunner (fifth round, No. 151, Boston Bruins), the son of forward Jamie Langenbrunner, now the Bruins director of player development, who played 1,109 NHL games and won the Cup with the Dallas Stars and Devils; and forward Kienan Draper (seventh round, No. 187, Detroit Red Wings), the son of four-time Cup-winning forward Kris Draper, who played 20 NHL seasons and is the Red Wings director of amateur scouting.
In addition, the Canadiens selected forward Luke Tuch, the brother of Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch, in the second round (No. 47), and the Avalanche selected center Jean-Luc Foudy, brother of Blue Jackets forward Liam Foudy, in the third round (No. 75).
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