Knights keep first pick in the family

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 12:04 PM ET

Like brother, like brother?

Don't expect that from Cory Syvret.

"A lot of people are going to be expecting another Danny Syvret that's two inches taller, but I don't think you can really ask that of anybody," 16-year-old Cory said yesterday after being the London Knights' first-round pick in the OHL draft.

Just like his 19-year-old brother Danny, who's played here three seasons, Cory is a defenceman. But he says that's where similarities end.

But Cory knows fans will only see the name on his sweater.

"Watch me for the first half of the year and you'll see what type of player I am," he said.

"Physically I like to stick up for my teammates. I'm a totally different player, so I can't compare myself with Danny and say I'm going to put up the same numbers as he has this year (23 goals, 46 assists in the regular season)."

Cory, six-foot-two and 185 pounds, played junior B with Cambridge. He had two goals and five points in 45 games.

"I think it would be hard for anybody to fill Danny's shoes, playing for the world juniors and getting the gold medal, and having a career that he's had with the London Knights," Cory said.

Danny Syvret, at his brother's side at the John Labatt Centre, asked that fans be patient.

"It will be tough on him if people expect me," Danny said. "But with his first name, I'm sure he'll do well. Obviously he's going to make some mistakes, but that's how you learn."

Cory and Danny's father Dave Syvret scouts for the Knights.

"I wouldn't push Cory on anyone," Dave said. "I was just happy as a parent to know John (Knights head scout John McDonald) loved him as a kid."

London is hoping it's "like father, like son" in the case of their second pick, which wasn't until the fourth round.

The Knights, who dealt their second- and third-round picks in earlier trades, chose 16-year-old centre Sam Gagner, son of former OHLer, NHLer and Chatham native Dave Gagner.

Gagner, five-foot-nine and 175 pounds, had 63 goals and 173 points in 69 games with the Toronto Marlies minor midgets.

Dave Gagner did some work with the Mississauga IceDogs, but his son indicated before the draft he's headed for the United States Hockey League in hopes of getting a U.S. college scholarship.

Even though the USHL classifies itself as major junior, the NCAA doesn't put sanctions on its players, as it does those who play Canadian major junior.

The Gagners have sold their Oakville home and are moving to Minnesota, although Dave will still operate a Mississauga-based backyard rink-building business.

If Gagner does report, it would be the steal of the draft.

"No risk, no gain," said GM Mark Hunter. "This guy is very, very good. We couldn't pass on him. He's up there with Corey (Perry). He'd be in our top three players on our team right away."

Hunter spoke to Dave Gagner and "we'll see. Hopefully we can talk him into coming. We start working on him right away."

A source said Dave Gagner asked Hunter if his brother Dale will coach next season as rumours continue that the Hunters are selling.

"Mark gave Dave (Gagner) the assurance that Dale will coach this team next season," the source said.


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