Giants’ anxious Jackson Houck will huddle with friends, family to learn who’s calling at NHL draft
VANCOUVER - Family bragging rights are at stake for Vancouver Giants right-winger Jackson Houck heading into Sunday’s National Hockey League entry draft.
His dad Paul was chosen 71st overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 1981 in what was then the fourth round. Jackson is rated by one scouting list to go in the 75-85 range, which would make him a third-rounder. Central Scouting has him No. 65 among North American skaters. No matter the round, if Jackson can beat the old man, he’ll take it.
“I haven’t talked to him about it yet but if I could go ahead of him, I will be able to bring it up if we’re ever having a little argument or something,” Houck said with a laugh this week. “It would be good to have that on him.”
Houck, from North Vancouver, led the Giants in scoring last season with 57 points. He wasn’t selected to play in the 2013 CHL Top Prospects Game, but did receive an invitation to the scouting combine in Toronto late last month. He said he spoke to “nine or 10 teams, I think” at the combine, including the Canucks.
Like most players, he doesn’t really care where he goes or to what team.
He’s seen what former Giant teammate Brendan Gallagher has accomplished as a fifth-round selection by the Montreal Canadiens and will use that as inspiration.
“It just shows that it doesn’t really matter where and when you go,” Houck noted. “Getting drafted is just another step in the right direction and then it’s really how you work from then on. Absolutely Brendan is an inspiration for all of us. He had a terrific year in the NHL.”
Houck, who is six feet and 194 pounds, doesn’t plan to attend the draft in New Jersey and instead thinks he’ll play a round of golf before settling in to watch the middle rounds.
“I mean, if I was a first-round guy, I’d probably go there,” he said. “If I’m out golfing, I won’t have to think about it and have the urge to watch it. I’ll probably head home after the first round and then watch with my family and friends.”
There are always surprises, though. Last June, Giants forward Jordan Martinook was touted to go in the fourth round, or later, and was relaxing on a boat when the Phoenix Coyotes took him in the second, 58th overall. Even Giants head coach Don Hay was surprised by the Coyote pick.
“You never really know where a player is going to go,” Hay noted. “If a team likes you, they’ll step up and Martinook was a perfect example of that. It was the same thing with Milan (Lucic) in his draft year. He went in the second round, which was probably a little bit early for what he did to that point.”
Lucic had nine goals and 149 penalty minutes when Boston grabbed him in the second round, 50th overall, in 2006. He then blossomed into a 30-goal scorer the following season and was in the NHL at age 19.
“I think Jackson will be in the area of fourth to seventh round,” predicted Hay. “But if a team has watched him and followed him a little more closely than others, and likes him, you just never know.”
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