Brandon Sutter, Ondrej Pavelec

Family ties: Hurricanes draft Kevin Lowe’s son Keegan, add their third Sutter

When reflecting upon many of the Carolina Hurricanes’ personnel (bringing back Erik Cole, Cory Stillman and Anton Babchuk) and front office (hiring and promoting former stars Ron Francis and Rod Brind’Amour) moves over the years, it becomes clear that this franchise values familiarity. After studying their second day draft moves, it’s apparent they also value family ties.

Canes GM Jeremy Rutherford made two partially genes-based moves today, drafting Kevin Lowe’s son Keegan with their 73rd selection and adding yet another Sutter family member in the form of Brody Sutter with the 193rd pick. It’s almost as if the Hurricanes should play in Nepotism Arena at this point; they currently own the rights to Staal brothers (Eric and Jared), three Sutters (Brody is the cousin of Brent and Brandon Sutter) and Keegan Lowe.

While Rutherford was quick to say that their picks jived with the opinions of scouts, it doesn’t seem like an accident that their NHL-level and minor league rosters seem like a family reunion waiting to happen.

“I think having good bloodlines always helps, but these are players that, when the scouting staff does their list and we get to certain rounds where they fall on our list, they’re selected appropriately,” Rutherford said.

Lowe told The Associated Press that he discussed the possibility of playing for his father’s Edmonton Oilers, but he also wanted to carve his own path.

The younger Lowe went to Carolina with the 73rd pick, after finishing with two goals and 22 assists in 71 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League. He said he and Kevin Lowe discussed the possibility of being drafted by the Oilers, but Keegan Lowe decided he’d rather make a name for himself somewhere else.

“We talked about it, if I would like going there, because obviously, if I didn’t want to, it would be up to me,” Keegan Lowe said. “He was just trying to treat me like any other player. He wasn’t going to hate me if I wasn’t going to go with them … but I’m just happy to be picked by Carolina.”

Keegan Lowe will probably get a better chance to make an impact on Carolina’s roster than Brody Sutter will, at least judging by where they were drafted (Lowe is a third round pick, Sutter went in the final round). That being said, if Brody manages to play in the NHL, he would become the ninth Sutter to play hockey at its highest level.

One cannot help but wonder if Carolina’s draft board looks more like a family tree, but such commentary won’t matter much if it pays off for the Hurricanes. Want more draft-related goodness? Head over to Draft HQ

(Note: Brandon Sutter is featured in this main photo, not Brody.)

PHT Morning Skate: Beat writers survey predicts Ducks will win Cup

Corey Perry, Frederik Andersen
AP Photo
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

In a survey of 29 beat writers, the Anaheim Ducks emerged as the clear favorite to win the Stanley Cup. If you’ll recall, they have that in common with the EA Sports simulation. (Boston Globe)

Alex Ovechkin would pick an Olympic hit against Jaromir Jagr as the biggest check of his life. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

Here are the highlights from Minnesota’s 5-4 victory over Colorado:

The Montreal Canadiens seem committed to using Alex Galchenyuk as a center throughout the 2015-16 campaign. (The Canadian Press)

The NHL recently enlisted its players to read off some not so mean tweets. (USA Today)

Bills coach Rex Ryan talked about the Sabres in Thursday’s press conference. (

Frederik Andersen may have the Anaheim Ducks’ starting job for now, but with John Gibson still a big part of their plans, Andersen has to keep proving himself. (Orange County Register)

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.