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Sons make fathers proud at Entry Draft

In the end, Keegan Lowe decided he'd rather go his own way.

Three sons of former Edmonton Oilers were taken in a span of 60 picks on Saturday during the NHL Entry Draft. Two of the three -- defenseman David Musil and forward Dillon Simpson -- will have a chance to follow in their fathers' footsteps with the blue and orange.

Lowe will not. Carolina took the son of Oilers' president Kevin Lowe in the third round with the 72nd overall pick; Edmonton owned the next pick -- and it's not that father wasn't interested in drafting son.

"Our guys liked him a lot," Kevin Lowe told the NHL Network when asked about the possibility of taking his son. "We had lots of discussions, but Keegan told us he preferred not getting picked by us. He wanted to make his own place. We're proud of that."

Said Keegan Lowe: "Edmonton was one of the teams I talked to. They didn't have me work out, and Carolina did. I'm really happy for that."

Though he hopes to be playing his NHL hockey in Carolina, the younger Lowe knows what it's like to play in Edmonton -- he's spent the last two seasons playing for the Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League. He had 2 goals and 24 points in 71 games this season, along with 123 penalty minutes.

"Obviously there's a little more pressure than the average kid," he said of playing in the city where his father starred on five Stanley Cup-winning teams and is now the club president. "But on game days I just think about game, about your opponent. The pressure goes away."

So how does he compare with his father as a player?

"He's definitely more advanced than I was at the same age, but there are similarities in his game," Kevin Lowe said. "He's the type of players most teams covet. He can play both ways and has some grit. There's some upside there."

Keegan Lowe also has some familiarity with his new home. In 2006, he accompanied his father and the Oilers to Raleigh for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final -- a game the Hurricanes won 3-1. He said it opened his eyes about Carolina as a hockey hotbed.

"When I was a little kid, I thought, 'It's Carolina, hockey must not be very big there," he said. "When the Oilers played them in '06 in the Stanley Cup Final, I went down there for Game 7 and it was amazing."

Though Kevin Lowe's son wanted to go out on his own, former teammate Craig Simpson's son was delighted with the chance to wear the same uniform his father wore from 1987-93, during which he was a member of the Oilers' last two Stanley Cup teams.

"Growing up loving the Oilers, being around the team, it's exciting to be picked by them," Dillon Simpson said. "There were a couple of teams on my mind. Edmonton was one of the teams I had talked to. I'm really excited they took the chance and drafted me."

Unlike his father, Dillon Simpson is a defenseman. He played 27 games as a freshman at the University of North Dakota this past season, scoring twice and finishing with 10 points and 6 penalty minutes. The Oilers took him with the first pick in the fourth round, 91st overall.

Craig Simpson sounded even more excited than his son at the thought of having a second-generation Oiler in the family.

"It's such a great time for our entire family," he said. "To get an opportunity to play in Edmonton -- Dillon grew up as a big Oilers fan. To get a chance to be a part of that community and play for the Oilers is a great thrill. It's a great thrill for me and for Dillon. He's so excited."

One difference between the Simpsons is their choice of college: Craig is a Michigan State man.

"The great thing -- this is his career," Craig said. "He's charting his own path. It's a thrill for our family to have him go to the Oilers."

David Musil, the first player taken Saturday (31st overall), also has Edmonton ties -- his father, Frantisek Musil, finished his career by playing parts of three seasons as an Oiler before retiring in 2001. David also has some other hockey connections: His uncle is former NHL star Bobby Holik, and his grandfather played for the Czech national team.

"I remember a little bit growing up in Edmonton while my dad was playing there, and I have a lot of good memories," said David, who had 6 goals, 25 points and 83 penalty minutes in his second season with the Vancouver Giants of the WHL. "I probably skated there a couple of times, but I couldn't tell you how many. I remember going there a couple of times, I was about 6 years old."

David said his draft day was a lot different that his father's. Frantisek Musil, a native of what was then Czechoslovakia, was taken in the second round (No. 38) by the Minnesota North Stars in 1983. He defected to North America in 1986 and joined the North Stars.

"My dad was in the Czech Republic; he didn't even know he got drafted," David Musil said. "He doesn't have a lot of memories. He just told me to enjoy it.

"He's got a lot of experience, so whenever I need help, I know I can turn to him -- and not just him, but my uncle and grandpa, too. Both of them are hockey players.

David has good athletic genes on both sides of the family: His mother, Andrea Holikova, was a professional tennis player who was good enough to take fellow Czech Martina Navratilova to two tie-breakers in a memorable opening-round match at the U.S. Open.

"I played tennis until I was 15," he said. "Then I concentrated on hockey. My whole family, it's all about sports, so if I need help, any of them are always there for me."

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