The Calgary Flames have gotten mixed results drafting sons of former NHLers early

In many businesses, following in your parents’ footsteps is considered advantageous. After all, if you grew up in that industry, you’re more likely to be prepared for the day-to-day work. And having a father who played professional hockey is likely to be beneficial. (Tij Iginla, the son of a renowned former Flame, could be on the board when the Flames make their early selection.)
However, in the past, the Calgary Flames have had mixed outcomes when picking the kids of former NHL players in the early rounds of the NHL Draft.
Let’s look into the three first-rounders who were offspring of NHL players.

2002: Eric Nystrom.
Bob Nystrom, born in Sweden but raised in picturesque Hinton, Alberta, was taken in the third round of the 1972 NHL Amateur Draft and went on to become a heart and soul player for the expansion New York Islanders. Nystrom played 900 regular-season games and 157 postseason games for the Islanders, winning four Stanley Cups.
His son, Eric, was ranked 13th among North American skaters by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service. The Flames traded with the Florida Panthers, moving from ninth to tenth overall and collecting a fourth-round pick in the process. With the 10th overall pick, they chose Nystrom.

Nystrom’s growth was impeded by several ailments, including a shoulder injury that missed him the most of a season. However, by the time he made it to the NHL, he had proven to be a very clever and successful checking forward. He didn’t contribute much offensively, totaling 39 points in 204 NHL games with the Flames, but he played mostly on the team’s bottom six and penalty kill, carving out a very important niche for himself.
Nystrom was not the offensive juggernaut that teams would hope to land with a 10th overall selection, but he turned out to be a fairly helpful player for the Flames.

Tij Iginla – DobberProspects

2009: Timothy Erixon
Jan Erixon, another Swedish-born player, spent a decade with the New York Rangers, appearing in 556 NHL games. After the 1992-93 season, he returned to Sweden at the worst possible time. The Rangers won their first Stanley Cup in decades the next season.
Tim, his son, was ranked seventh among European skaters by Central Scouting in 2009. The Flames moved down from 20th to 23rd overall, acquiring a third-round pick, before selecting Erixon at 23rd overall.

Erixon had a reputation for being a really smart, toolsy offensive player. There was some pre-draft chatter that maybe he would prefer to play for his father’s old team, the Rangers, but generally speaking, those preferences tend to go away once a player is drafted. However, Erixon remained in Sweden for the two seasons following his selection, and his situation became a problem that new Flames general manager Jay Feaster had to solve.

On the verge of losing Erixon’s rights (and just receiving a compensatory second-round pick), the Flames dealt him to the Rangers in exchange for prospect Roman Horak and two 2011 second-round picks. (The team chose Markus Granlund and Tyler Wotherspoon with those picks.)

Erixon played only 93 NHL games before moving to Europe to complete his career.
2016: Matthew Tkachuk
You’ve probably heard of Keith Tkachuk. He played over 1,000 NHL games and scored over 1,000 points. He spent the majority of his career with the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues, but he also appeared for Phoenix and Atlanta. (Go, Thrashers!) In 2016, Central Scouting ranked Matthew as the second best North American skater. The Flames selected him sixth overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. He made the NHL club right away and was one of the Flames’ most valuable players for much of his career, first as an agitating checking winger, then as an agitating scoring winger. He scored 382 points in 431 games with the Flames. Tkachuk wanted to travel south to continue his playing career, so he worked with Flames management on a deal to Florida during the 2022 off-season that earned the Flames a first-round pick, Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, and Cole Schwindt.

The Flames selected two additional sons of NHL players in the second round. Neither father was a prominent NHL player.
In the 1979 amateur draft, the Flames selected goaltender Pat Riggin. Dennis, Pat’s father, played 18 games for the Detroit Red Wings in 1959-60 and 1962-63. Riggin played 119 games with the Flames before being traded to Washington in 1982. He wasn’t an ace, but he was a consistent goaltender for several seasons.
The Flames chose Rasmus Andersson in 2015. Rasmus’ father, Peter, played 47 games with the Rangers and Panthers throughout the 1990s. Andersson has already played 455 games for the Flames and has two years remaining on his current contract. He has been a very solid defender for the Flames since joining the squad.

To be honest, I expected to see more former NHL players’ sons selected early. The Flames have picked other sons later in the draft, including Paul Reinhart’s son Max and Rob Ramage’s son John in 2010, but shockingly few early on. There is a significant degree of diversity in this small sample size.
Andersson and Tkachuk are clear standouts, while everyone else’s performance varies slightly.

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