The Rangers could very well be facing the pressure of whether or not to draft a player with ties to the New York Islanders. In 2003, the Rangers passed over Zach Parise and drafted Hugh Jessiman instead. Ever since then, the son of J.P. Parise has been making the Rangers rue that selection.

In 2007, they have two more chances to draft an Islander legacy. Colton Gillies is the nephew of former Islander Clark Gillies and Brandon Sutter is the son of former Islander Brent Sutter and the nephew of the rest of the Sutter clan.

However, the NHL’s version of “Family Affair” does not stop with these two players. Two more players with famous NHL relatives are sure to be drafted in the first round on June 22. Sam Gagner is the son of Rangers 1983 1st round pick Dave Gagner. Defenseman Keaton Ellerby is the cousin of Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan.

In addition to these names, I have come across a few other “generation next” draft prospects who were ranked by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service.

Jeremie Dupont – son of former NHL defenseman Jerome Dupont

Blake Kessel – Brother of Boston Bruins Phil Kessel

Dwight King – Brother of St. Louis Blue D.J. King

Logan MacMillan – Son of former NHLer Bobby MacMillan

Brad Malone – Son of former Rangers 1980 Rangers 1st draft bust Jim Malone. Cousin of Pittsburgh Penguins Ryan Malone. Nephew of former NHLer Greg Malone.

Mickey Renaud – Son of former NHLer Mark Renaud

Vladimir Ruzicka – Son of former Toronto Maple Leafs Vladimir Ruzicka

Maxime Tanguay – Brother of Calgary Flame Alex Tanguay

Justin Vaive – Son of former NHLer Rick Vaive.

While not ranked by CSS, one has to wonder if Mark Messier becomes Assistant GM of the Rangers, will he push to draft puck-moving defenseman Lyon Messier of the NAHL’s Texas Tornado? Lyon Messier was eligible in 2006, but was not selected.

Conversely, goaltender Charles-Antoine Messier is no relation to the former Rangers captain. Also, not related are Phil and Tony Esposito to top 10 prospect Angelo Esposito.

One interesting side note is that potential second round draft Ben Ryan’s grandfather was a five-star general in World War II.

After my original post, I came across an excellent fan site that provided some additional “family affair” fodder. Tom Mascioli’s IslesInfo {} is an excellent site for insight on the draft. While he is an Islander fan, he more than makes up for it with great insight and with the fact that he is a fellow Iona College graduate :-)

Tom made note of the following additions to the list I originally provided.

Roman and Ruslan Bashkirov – Both Russian brotehrs are eligible for this year’s draft. Roman is viewed as a mid-draft prospect while Ruslan is seen as potential second round selection

Michael Biega – Brother of Buffalo prospect Alex Biega

Brandon Brickley – Cousin of former NHLer and current broadcaster Andy Brickley

Marcus Carroll – Son of former NHLer Billy Carroll

Justin Courtnal – Son of Geoff Courtnall and unclde of Russ Courtnall

Keaton Ellerby – In addition to being Shane Doan’s cousin, he is also the cousin of Montreal prospect Carey Price

Jordan Nolan – Son of former Sabre and current Islander coach Ted Nolan

Cale Ridderwall – Brother of Islander prospect Stefan Ridderwall

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