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Battle Of The Brothers: Sibling Alliances And Rivalries In The NHL

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From Sedins to Stromes to Staals to Sutters, who are the best brothers to play in the NHL.

On November 30, Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks scored a power play goal against the Nashville Predators, and in doing so became the 87th player to reach 1,000 points in the NHL.

Daniel reached that milestone with an assist from his identical twin brother, Henrik Sedin. The Sedin twins were drafted second and third overall in the 1999 NHL Draft and have played their entire careers in Vancouver. Notably, they’re the first pair of brothers to each record at least 1,000 points in the league.

But they aren’t the only siblings playing in the league today. Fifteen other families currently have two or more siblings active on NHL teams: the Benns (Jamie and Jordie), Folignos (Marcus and Nick), Granlunds (Markus and Mikael), Hamiltons (Dougie and Freddie), Hayes (Jimmy and Kevin), McGinns (Brock and Jamie), Ritchies (Brett and Nick), Schenns (Brayden and Luke), Smiths (Brendan and Reilly), Staals (Eric, Jordan and Marc), Stones (Mark and Michael), Stromes (Dylan and Ryan), Subbans (P.K. and Malcolm), Tanevs (Brandon and Chris) and van Reimsdyks (James and Trevor).

Many other NHL siblings play overseas or in minor league systems. These include new York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist‘s twin brother Joel, who plays in the Swedish Hockey League, and Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly‘s younger brother Cal, who is a member of the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.

Out of all these siblings, only the Sedins and the Hamilton brothers currently play on the same team, with Dougie and Freddie both suiting up for the Calgary Flames.

The Benns and Schenns used to play together, with the Dallas Stars and Philadelphia Flyers respectively, but all except for Jamie Benn have since been traded to other teams. Eric Staal, too, used to play with his brother Jordan with the Carolina Hurricanes; then he was traded to play with his brother Marc and the New York Rangers. However, he currently plays with neither of them as a member of the Minnesota Wild.

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(Jamie, left, and Jordie Benn pose for a photo before their first game against each other. Jordie had played with his younger brother in Dallas for six years before being traded to Montreal in 2016./Photo by the Montreal Canadiens)

Of this list of brothers, there are many notable accomplishments. Jamie Benn is a three-time All-Star and won the Art Ross Trophy in 2015. Nick Foligno won the 2017 King Clancy Memorial Trophy for humanitarian contributions. P.K. Subban won the 2013 Norris Trophy for best defenseman. Eric Staal won a Stanley Cup in 2006, his brother Jordan won one in 2009, and Trevor van Reimsdyk won the Cup in 2015.

Some of these brothers are among the up-and-coming stars of the league. Ryan Strome was selected fifth overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and younger brother Dylan was selected third overall four years later. They recently played against each other, a 3-2 overtime victory for Ryan’s Edmonton Oilers against Dylan and the Arizona Coyotes on November 28.

Mikael Granlund, another early draft pick, was taken ninth overall in 2010. He’s accumulated 217 points in 342 games with the Minnesota Wild.

Reilly Smith is having a renaissance year with the league’s newest team, the Vegas Golden Knights, with 21 points in 26 games. Joining him in Las Vegas is Malcolm Subban, who has a 5-2-0 record with the team. Subban could start against his brother P.K.’s team, the Nashville Predators, on December 8.

Looking through the annals of NHL history, some of the game’s most famous and prolific stars also had brothers who took to the ice.

The most famous (and largest) family to ever play in the NHL was the Sutter family. Six brothers played a combined 4,994 regular-season games, accumulated 2,934 regular-season points and won eight Stanley Cups, six times as players and twice as a coach. Comprised of Brian, Darryl, Duane, Brent and twins Ron and Rich, the Sutters were a constant in the league from 1976 to 2001. Brent’s son Brandon currently plays for the Vancouver Canucks.

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(The six Sutter brothers receive awards from the WHL for their commitment to hockey in 2016./Photo by the Western Hockey League)

Wayne Gretzky‘s younger brother Brent played 13 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons. Mario Lemieux‘s older brother Alain had a somewhat more lucrative career, scoring 72 points in 119 games across six seasons. Alain played one game alongside his brother, the final one of his NHL career.

The NHL has certainly proven to be a family affair, and with new young stars like Griffin Reinhardt (brother of Sam Reinhardt), Jordan Schmaltz (brother of Nick Schmaltz) and Alexander Nylander (brother of William Nylander) developing in the AHL, the number of brotherly rivalries in the league will only increase in the years to come.

Edited by Jeremy Losak.

Gordie Howe is the only player to have played in an NHL game with his two sons. In which season did he play with them?
Created 12/1/17
  1. 1975-76
  2. 1977-78
  3. 1979-80
  4. 1981-82

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