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

Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
5 hours ago
In a lot of industries, it’s considered an advantage to be following in the footsteps of one of your parents. After all, if you’ve had exposure to that industry growing up, odds are you’ll be better prepared for the day-to-day grind of that industry. And when it comes to professional hockey, it probably does help to have a parent that played. (There’s a son of a prominent former Flame, Tij Iginla, who could be on the board when the Flames are set to select early on.)
But in the history of the Calgary Flames, they’ve had mixed results selecting the sons of former NHLers in the early rounds of the NHL Draft.
Let’s dive into the three first-rounders that were sons of NHLers.

2002: Eric Nystrom

Born in Sweden but raised in scenic Hinton, Alberta, Bob Nystrom was selected in the third round of the 1972 NHL Amateur Draft and became a heart-and-soul player for the expansion New York Islanders. Nystrom played 900 regular season games for the Isles – plus 157 playoff games – and won four Stanley Cups with the Islanders.
His son, Eric, was ranked 13th among North American skaters by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service. The Flames made a swap with the Florida Panthers, moving from 9th to 10th overall and adding a fourth-rounder in the process. With the 10th overall pick, they selected Nystrom.
Nystrom’s development was hampered by some injuries, including a shoulder injury that cost him most of a season. But by the time he made the NHL, he turned out to be a really smart, effective checking forward. He didn’t move the needle much offensively, registering just 39 points over 204 NHL games with the Flames, but he played primarily on the club’s bottom six and penalty kill and carved out a really useful niche for himself.
He wasn’t quite the offensive powerhouse that teams would hope to land with a 10th overall selection, but Nystrom turned into a really useful player for the Flames nonetheless.

2009: Tim Erixon

Another Swedish born player, Jan Erixon played 556 NHL games over a decade with the New York Rangers. He had the supremely poor timing of heading back to Sweden after the 1992-93 season… and then the Rangers won their first Stanley Cup in decades the following season.
His son, Tim, was the fifth-ranked European skater by Central Scouting in 2009. The Flames traded down from 20th to 23rd overall (adding a third-rounder) and then selected 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 dad’s old team, the Rangers, but generally speaking, those preferences tend to go away once a player is drafted. But 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 eve of losing Erixon’s rights (and only being entitled to a compensatory second-round pick), the Flames traded him to the Rangers in exchange for prospect Roman Horak and a pair of 2011 second-round picks. (The club selected Markus Granlund and Tyler Wotherspoon with those picks.)
Erixon played just 93 NHL games before heading to Europe to continue his career.

2016: Matthew Tkachuk

You’ve probably heard of Keith Tkachuk. He played over 1,000 NHL games and had over 1,000 points. He played most prominently for the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues, but he also made appearances for Phoenix and Atlanta. (Go Thrashers!)
His son, Matthew, was ranked second among North American skaters by Central Scouting in 2016. He was selected by the Flames at sixth overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. He made the NHL team immediately, and became one of the Flames’ most valuable players for much of his run – first as an agitating checking winger, later as an agitating scoring winger. He amassed 382 points over 431 games with the Flames.
Looking to move south to continue his playing career, Tkachuk collaborated with Flames management on a trade to Florida during the 2022 off-season which netted the Flames a first-round pick, Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar and Cole Schwindt.

What about the second round?

Two more sons of NHLers have been selected by the Flames in the second round. Neither father was a significant NHLer.
  • The Flames grabbed goalie Pat Riggin in 1979’s amateur draft. Pat’s father, Dennis, played 18 games with the Detroit Red Wings in 1959-60 and 1962-63. Riggin played 119 games for the Flames before a trade to Washington in 1982. He wasn’t an ace, but he was a reliable netminder for a few seasons.
  • The Flames selected Rasmus Andersson in 2015. Rasmus’ father, Peter, palyed 47 games with the Rangers and Panthers in the 1990s. Andersson’s already played 455 games with the Flames and has two years remaining on his current deal. He’s been a very strong defender for the Flames since making the team back in 2018.
Honestly, I thought there would be more sons of former NHLers selected early. The Flames have nabbed other sons later in the draft – heck, they drafted Paul Reinhart’s son Max and Rob Ramage’s son John in 2010 – but surprisingly few early on. Within this small sample size, there’s a decent amount of variation.
Andersson and Tkachuk are straight-up strong selections, while the results from everybody else vary a bit more.
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