It’s likely that plenty of hockey fans cringe whenever they hear the name Ulf Samuelsson. For many, the former NHL defenseman will be remembered for his over-the-line hits (most notably his notorious knee-to-knee on Cam Neely) more than winning two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins or anything else he accomplished during in his 16-year career.
Hockey fans might want to get used to the name Samuelsson, though, as it seems like his progeny have a solid future in the NHL. The Penguins took Ulf’s son – and fellow blueliner – Philip (with Ulf in this post’s main image) in the second round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and USA Today’s Kevin Allen listed right winger Henrik as the fifth best U.S.-born player eligible for the 2012 draft today.
Henrik scored 11 points and tallied (an Ulf-inspired?) 74 penalty minutes in 27 games with the USHL. While his dad will coach the top Modo team next season, Allen reports that Henrik will play for Modo Jr.
One other interesting name on that list is Allen’s top ranked American-born player Alex Galchenyuk. The center plays alongside probable top overall pick Nail Yakupov for the Sarnia Sting and his more well-rounded style spurs some to wonder if he might actually end up being a better fit for the NHL than the dazzling Russian winger.
Three defensemen round out the 2-4 spots on Allen’s list: James Trouba, Nick Ebert (whose last name seems like a natural fit for awful “two thumbs up/down” type jokes) and Jordan Schmaltz. From everything I’ve heard, the 2012 draft features a deep and talented group of players, so there’s no guarantee that being a top American prospect will mean that all five of these players will become first round picks.
Still, those of you who are more interested in prospects might want to keep an eye out for those five players. Opposing players would probably be wise to keep an eye out for Henrik Samuelsson in particular, at least if that on-ice nastiness runs in the family.