Local talent goes largely untouched
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From Washington, Pa., to Washington, D.C. That's the journey native son Riley Barber would like to complete someday.
Barber, a former player for the Pittsburgh Hornets amateur team, was chosen in the sixth round by the Washington Capitals. He was the first and only locally trained player to be taken in 2012 NHL Entry Draft completed Saturday at Consol Energy Center.
A winger for the Team USA U18 squad this past season, Barber lived in Washington, Pa., until middle school when his family moved to Michigan in order for him to face better competition in hockey.
Barber is the son of former NHL player Don Barber, who settled here after his playing days when he married Riley's mother, Stacy, a Washington, Pa., native. Riley will continue his career at Miami University in Ohio.
One year after four local players were selected in the first three rounds of the draft, Barber was the only player picked who spent a significant amount of time training in the area.
Officially, one other Pittsburgh native was selected -- Phoenix first-round pick Henrik Samuelsson -- but it's a stretch to say he was locally trained. Samuelsson, the son of former Penguin Ulf Samuelsson, only spent two years here because the family moved away after Ulf was traded to the Rangers in 1995.
Two other players with local ties went undrafted. Goaltender Michael Houser of Wexford was rated the No. 16 North American goalie by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau. Travis Jeke, of Washington, Pa., was rated the No. 184 North American skater.
Houser is eligible to return to London in the Ontario Hockey League, but is keeping his options open. Jeke, whose family now lives in Shaler, will attend Boston College.
Winnipeg's second-round selection, Lukas Sutter, is the son of former Penguins first-round pick Rich Sutter. Rich, the 10th overall choice in 1982, played 874 games in the NHL, but only nine with the Penguins, who traded him to Philadelphia in '84 to play with his twin brother Ron.
Sound familiar? On Friday night, the Penguins traded Jordan Staal to Carolina, where his older brother, Eric, is the team captain. Ironically, one of the players the Penguins received in return for Staal is Brandon Sutter, the son of another of the famous Sutter brothers, Brent.
A few more Penguins ties on the second day of the draft:
• Daniel O'Regan, San Jose's pick in the fifth round, is the son of former Penguin Tom O'Regan.
• Josh Anderson, Columbus' selection in the fourth round, is a cousin of former Penguin Peter Mahovlich.
• Jaynen Rissling, a seventh-round selection of the Capitals, is the nephew of former Penguin winger Gary Rissling.
• Canada led all countries with 99 players selected in the draft followed by USA with 56 and Sweden with 22. Russia had 11 players chosen, Finland 9, the Czech Republic 6, Latvia and Denmark 2 and Belarus, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom with 1 apiece.
• Teams selected a total of 211 players. The breakdown by position: 77 defensemen, 44 centers, 34 left wingers, 24 goaltenders, 21 right wingers and 11 players labeled "unidentified," which likely means they play multiple positions.
• The Penguins picked up goaltender Marc Cheverie from Phoenix in the Zbynek Michalek trade Friday. He's a depth goalie for the organization, having split last season between the ECHL and the American Hockey League. Cheverie also has a tie to the Penguins. He grew up near center Sidney Crosby in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, and the two were boyhood teammates and friends. Cheverie played three seasons at the University of Denver before turning pro two years ago.
• Michel Ouellet, who played for the Penguins from 2005-07, was traded by Tampa Bay to Boston for a fifth-round pick.
• A much smaller crowd watched the draft Saturday inside Consol Energy Center. Those that did fill the seats still managed to fill the arena with boos every time Philadelphia made a selection. The Flyers clearly were the most-booed franchise among the partisan patrons followed by the Washington Capitals.
• The Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League had two players selected on day two of the draft. Defenseman Adam Pelech was taken in the third round by the New York Islanders. Connor Brown, a right winger, was taken in the sixth round by Toronto.
• Hockey Hall of Famer Fern Flaman died Friday night. Flaman, who played 910 games in the NHL with Boston and Toronto from 1943-61, played for the Pittsburgh Hornets, Toronto's minor league team, in 1950-51. After his playing career, Flaman coached in the western and central hockey leagues as well as at Northeastern University.
• Returning to the draft floor after absences from the NHL were former Penguins general manager Craig Patrick, now a senior advisor with Columbus, and former Penguins coach Michel Therrien, recently named coach at Montreal.
First Published June 24, 2012 12:00 am