There will be some familiar last names called at the 2012 NHL entry draft. This year's draft class has a handful of prospects who share bloodlines with former and/or current hockey players who've made a living in the big leagues.
Obviously having a father or brother who knows what it takes to make it to the pros is an advantage. They're able to receive solid advice on how to get to the next level from the comfort of their own home. In some circumstances their family connections also make it possible for them to be put into contact with coaches and trainers that may not be available to the public. Ultimately, these advantages are a definite benefit to their development process.
Here's a look at some of the most prominent hockey bloodlines in this year's draft class.
Griffin Reinhart, defence, Edmonton Oil Kings (Paul Reinhart) — Unlike his brothers Max and Sam, each forwards for the Kootenay Ice, Griffin Reinhart decided to take after his old man by making his mark on the blue line.
The similarities between Griffin and his father Paul don't seem to go much farther past sharing a position. At 6-foot-4 and 202 pounds, the Oil King stands five inches taller than his father. This makes Griffin more of force along the boards and in front of the net. Despite being known for his physical play and big frame, Griffin can also move the puck smoothly. He has notched 12 goals and 32 points in 51 games this season. These numbers are definitely impressive, but not in the same ballpark as his father's old stats with the Kitchener Rangers. During Paul's 1978-79 season with the Rangers, he scored an unbelievable 51 goals and 129 points in 66 games from the back end. It was a different game back then.
Griffin, 18, is one of the most popular defensive prospects in this draft class. He was ranked eighth among North American skaters in NHL's Central Scouting's midterm rankings. His father was drafted 12th by the Atlanta Flames in 1979. So it seems the coincidence of being drafted with the exact same pick as his old man is quite realistic.
Stefan Matteau, wing, USA U-18 (Stéphane Matteau) — The younger Matteau initially decided to take a different route to the pros than his father, who came up through the QMJHL. Stefan is playing for the USA U-18 program, but in January he opted out of his commitment to the University of North Dakota and committed to the QMJHL's Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, where his father is an assistant coach.
Stefan, much like his father, loves getting engaged in the physical side of the game. The 6-foot-1, 209-pound winger has racked up 80 penalty minutes with the USA U-18 team. Since there always seems to be a shortage of physical forwards who can consistently score in the pros, Stefan has been a very sought-after prospect among scouts. Central Scouting's recent rankings pegged him 13th among North American skaters.
Henrik Samuelsson, centre, Edmonton Oil Kings (Ulf Samuelsson) — Henrik Samuelsson was coached by his father this year while playing for Modo in the Swedish Elite League. However, after receiving limited ice time throughout the first half of the season, Henrik and his father decided it would be best for his development to join the Edmonton Oil Kings. Since moving to Edmonton in early January, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound centre has excelled with the Eastern Conference leaders with six goals and 19 points in 21 games.
Henrik, who was ranked 33rd among European skaters by Central Scouting, isn't Ulf's first son to be receiving attention from NHL scouts. Phillip Samuelsson, 19, was drafted 61st overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins In 2009.
Max Iafrate, defence, Kitchener Rangers (Al Iafrate) — It will take a lot for Max Iafrate to fill his old man's shoes. His father Al was drafted fourth overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1984 NHL draft and went to score 463 points in 799 games from the back end.
Max has shown some similarities to his father's old hard-nosed style of play. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound defenceman, who was ranked 78th among North American skaters by Central Scouting, has played a hard-hitting, edgy game on the Rangers' defence, racking up 83 penalty minutes throughout 55 games this season.
Lukas Sutter, centre, Saskatoon Blades (Rich Sutter) — Lukas Sutter will be the fourth member of the next-generation Sutter clan to be drafted in the past eight years. The 6-foot-1, 202-pound centre is ranked 86th among North American skaters. The consensus within junior hockey circles is that Lukas will have his name called in either the second or third round of the draft.
No different than his father Rich, Lukas is an agitating forward who can put the puck in the back of the net. The 18-year-old has notched 26 goals and 53 points in 63 games this season while racking up 146 penalty minutes, including eight fighting majors.
Chasing their big brother
Malcolm Subban, goaltender, Belleville Bulls (Montreal Canadiens star P.K Subban) — The Subban family are one of the top up-and-coming hockey families. P.K has flourished as an elite puck-moving defenceman with the Montreal Canadiens. Malcolm is currently Central Scouting's No. 1-ranked North American goaltender.
Last but not least, 17-year-old Jordan is touted as one of the top defensive prospects of the 2013 draft.
Malcolm Subban has proven to be a consistent puck-stopper capable of single-handedly winning games for his Belleville Bulls. The 6-foot-1, 188-pounder has maintained a 2.51 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in 33 games for a seventh-place team. Many scouts believe his name will called during the first-round of the draft.
Brendan Gaunce, centre, Belleville Bulls (Colorado Avalanche prospect Cameron Gaunce) — Gaunce was able to watch close up what it takes to become a top NHL prospect while he was growing up. His brother played alongside the likes of Tampa Bay Lighting star Steven Stamkos, Buffalo Sabres centre Cody Hodgson and New York Rangers defenceman Michael Del Zotto with the Markham Waxers in the OJHL.
Brendan, 17, is touted as one of the top two-way power forwards of this draft class. The 6-foot-2, 212-pound centre, who has scored 27 goals and 64 points in 62 games this season, was ranked 11th among North American skaters by Central Scouting. He has already elicited comparisons to the likes of Los Angeles Kings' Mike Richards and New York Rangers' Brandon Dubinisky.
Adam Pelech, defence, Erie Otters (San Jose Sharks prospect Matt Pelech) — Adam Pelech, like his older brother Matt, is a lanky blueliner who is known for playing a simple game. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder is one of three Erie Otters ranked in the top-85 of North American skaters by Central Scouting. He sits in the middle of his draft eligible teammates, ranked 54th.
It seems Adam is a step or two behind where his brother's development was at when he was 18 years old. Matt Pelech was ranked 41st by Central Scouting's final ranking of 2005. He ended up being selected 26 overall by the Calgary Flames.
Adam's pedigree does not stop with his brother. He is a nephew of Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis.
Trevor Carrick, defence, Mississauga St. Michael's Majors (Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Sam Carrick) — Trevor Carrick and his brother Sam face off against each other when the Mississauga St. Michael Majors take on the Brampton Battalion. However, the Carrick brothers play at different ends of the ice. Trevor sits on the blueline, while Sam plays down the middle.
This is Trevor's rookie season in the OHL. He is touted as a late bloomer who plays a steady defensive game, forming a shutdown pairing with Toronto Maple Leafs first-rounder Stuart Percy. He was ranked 45th among North American skaters by Central Scouting.
Alex Gudbranson, defence, Kingston Frontenacs (Florida Panthers defenceman Erik Gudbranson) — It hasn't even been two years since the Florida Panthers selected Erik Gudbranson No. 3 overall in 2010 draft. He has since moved up to the NHL club full time.
Alex is definitely on the draft radar, but is not as highly regarded as his older brother. The Frontenacs defenceman was ranked 167th among North American skaters by Central Scouting. However, he has good size at 6-foot-2 and 206 pounds and has got to play heavy minutes this season on a young team under the tutelage of first-year coach Todd Gill, who played more than 1,000 NHL games on the blueline. So it seems possible a second Gudbranson could hear his name called on the draft floor.
Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen (image credits WHL.ca and OHL.ca).