Luukko happy son's here as Flyers draft prospect

Defenseman Nick Luukko, son of the Comcast-Spectacor president, said he always wanted to play for the Flyers.
Defenseman Nick Luukko, son of the Comcast-Spectacor president, said he always wanted to play for the Flyers.
Posted: July 09, 2010

It's been almost two weeks since Nick Luukko was taken by the Flyers in the sixth round of the NHL entry draft. These days, it's much easier for his father, Peter, to accept that, after initially prodding Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren to go another route.

After observing him go through his first scrimmage at prospects camp on Wednesday, Luukko reiterated why he cautioned the team from drafting his son, but conceded that he's grown more receptive of the move since the team selected him.

"It's tough when your son plays for the same organization," said Luukko, president and chief operating officer of Comcast-Spectacor, parent company of the Flyers. "People say things because it's my son. . . . Now that it's happened, it's great seeing him there. I'm much more excited than I was at the time."

On draft night last month, the Flyers projected Luukko would be taken by the sixth round. So when he was still available at the 179th pick, the Flyers drafted him.

Luukko feared the move would raise some eyebrows because of the family's tie with the organization. Consequently, he thought Nick would endure some unwanted pressure.

Yet after watching his son practice in a Flyers jersey Wednesday, those lingering doubts had seemingly evaporated.

"I don't think it's hit me yet," the elder Luukko said. "It hasn't hit me that this is really 'The Show.' It's the NHL, and he's at his first camp. It's surreal."

After camp ends, Nick will look forward to playing for Dubuque of the United State Hockey League next season. In the fall of 2011, he will attend the University of Vermont.

Throughout the path to playing in the NHL, Nick Luukko has defended his father's stance, saying he agreed with his reasoning and appreciated his concern. But now with his father on board, he can bask in the moment of being a Flyers draft prospect.

"It's pretty legit," said the 18-year-old defenseman. "I didn't know what to expect. But it's always been a dream of mine to play for the Flyers. [Wednesday] was a jump-start to my career.

"It's a lot of work, but it's also a lot of fun."

Zherdev signing. No official word yet on a signing of free-agent Nikolai Zherdev.

Reports have the Flyers, among other teams, interested in the 6-foot-2 Ukrainian right winger.

Drafted fourth overall by Columbus in 2003, Zherdev reportedly is seeking a multiyear deal. He scored 13 goals and had 26 assists in 52 games in Russia with Atlant last season after being released by the New York Rangers.

He scored 61 points on 26 goals and 35 assists in 2007-08 for Columbus.


Contact staff writer Mario Aguirre at 215-854-4550

or maguirre@phillynews.com.

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