Bloodlines run deep through 2020 Draft
Jake Sanderson understands the leg up he has on the majority of his peers.
The 18-year-old grew up living the sport, after all.
He’s the son of longtime NHLer Geoff Sanderson.
“My dad’s been awesome,” Jake told reporters in a conference call last week. “He’s been here every step of the way throughout my life, just helping me with my hockey career. He introduced me to the game. It’s great having him.
“He just kind of tells me to enjoy the moment. It only happens once in your life. He says getting drafted is kind of the easier part…what comes after that is the most important part and what you do with it.”
Geoff, now 48, played 1,104 games in the National Hockey League between stops with the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton Oilers.
He amassed exactly 700 points (355 goals, 345 assists) in his fruitful career, which was shy of a Stanley Cup ring but netted two gold medals at the IIHF World Championship in 1994 and 1997.
“I don’t really remember a lot when he was playing, but I remember living in certain places when I was younger, like St. Albert just because I have family up there,” said Jake, No 12 in FCHockey’s Final ranking for the 2020 draft. “I remember living in Phoenix and Columbus as well.
“The one thing I remember about him in his playing career was that he was a great skater, very talented on the offensive side of the game and a great goal scorer. I don’t know. If I’m drafted ahead of my dad when he was, maybe I’ll give it to him a little bit but I have too much to thank of him.
“He’s been there every step of the way.”
Though Geoff’s career ended in 2008 – when Jake was just six – the impact remains.
And Jake is one of a fraternity of draft prospects that have NHL bloodlines.
Brendan Brisson, C, Chicago (USHL)
FCHockey Rank: 41
Brisson, the United States Hockey League’s rookie of the year after amassing 59 points (24 goals, 35 assists) in 45 games this season, has perhaps the most unique tie to the game.
His father, Pat, represents some of the NHL’s elite like Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon, Patrick Kane, John Tavares, and many, many more.
“Growing up, he was just simply my dad,” Brendan told FCHockey in April. “When I was younger, like in elementary school, people would ask ‘what does your dad do?’ I didn’t even know he was a hockey agent. I would say he’s a ‘Super-Agent’, thinking he was doing some secret stuff.
“When I came to an age where I realized that this wasn’t really normal, like shooting pucks with Nathan MacKinnon or Sidney Crosby, was when I started to grow up a little bit.”
Jacob Perreault, RW, Sarnia (OHL)
FCHockey Rank: 23
Perreault, who amassed 70 points (39 goals, 31 assists) in 57 games this season, doesn’t need to look far for a bit of assistance.
His father, Yanic, recorded 516 points (247 goals, 269 assists) in 859 games in the NHL from 1993-2008 with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings, Canadiens, Predators, Coyotes, and Chicago Blackhawks. Yanic also served as development coach with the Blackhawks from 2013-2020.
Thomas Bordeleau, C, NTDP U18 (USHL)
FCHockey Rank: 31
Bordeleau, who paced the National Team Development Program’s Under-18 squad with 46 points (16 goals, 30 assists) in 47 games, has multiple NHL connections.
He’s the son of Sebastien Bordeleau, who logged 251 NHL games over the course of seven seasons from 1995-2002 with the Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, Minnesota Wild and Coyotes, and remains a development coach in Nashville.
He’s also the grandson of Paulin Bordeleau, who was the No. 4 pick in the 1973 WHA Amateur Draft and No. 19 selection in the 1973 NHL Draft. Paulin logged 183 NHL skates with the Vancouver Canucks and an additional 234 games in the WHA with the Quebec Nordiques.
Michael Benning, D, Sherwood Park (AJHL)
FCHockey Rank: 66
Like Bordeleau, Benning has multiple NHL connections.
Benning, who paced Alberta Junior Hockey League defensemen with 75 points (12 goals, 63 assists), is the younger brother of current Edmonton Oilers defenseman Matt Benning – who at 26 has 248 NHL games to his credit.
But it doesn’t stop there for Michael.
His father, Brian Benning, played 568 games in the NHL from 1985-1995, including stops with the St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Oilers and Florida Panthers.
But it doesn’t stop there for Michael, either.
His uncle, Jim Benning, played 610 games in the NHL, and has been the general manager of the Canucks for the past six seasons.
But it doesn’t stop there for Michael, either.
His grandfather, Elmer Benning, was an amateur scout with the Canadiens for 19 years, from 2000-2018.
Ryder Rolston, RW, Waterloo (USHL)
FCHockey Rank: 106
Rolston, who was fourth in scoring in Waterloo with 33 points (16 goals, 17 assists) in 42 games, is the son of longtime NHL veteran Brian Rolston.
Brian had 761 points (342 goals, 419 assists) in 1,256 games with the New Jersey Devils, Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins, Wild and New York Islanders.
Ridly Greig, LW, Brandon (WHL)
FCHockey Rank: 54
Greig, who was third in scoring with Brandon at 60 points (26 goals, 34 assists) in 56 games, may have one of the most unique connections to the NHL.
Mark, his father, played 125 games in with Hartford, Toronto, Calgary Flames, and Philadelphia from 1990-2003. But that’s not where the interest lies.
Mark, based in Lethbridge, remains an amateur scout with the Flyers, a position he’s held for the past 12 years, and Ridly – 11 at the time – served as the runner for Philadelphia’s table at the 2014 NHL Draft.