With the 1st overall pick in the 2019 NHL entry draft, the New Jersey Devils select… Jack Hughes. And with that selection, Jack joined his brother Quinn as the astounding 266th sibling group to join the NHL. What’s more amazing, 26 picks later in the same draft, Nolan Foote joined his brother Cal to make 267. Sibling rivalry and brotherly love is no stranger to the world of the NHL. Within these 267 are iconic names like the Staals, the Sedins, and… the Gretzkys? Some sibling groups both climb the ladder together to become all time greats, and some take incredibly different paths. How different? let’s take a look at some unforgettable, and some hard to remember sibling groups in the NHL.
Rob & Scott Niedermayer
While perhaps not the greatest duo of brothers to lace up skates together in the NHL, Rob and Scott Niedermayer are a go-to when talking about siblings in professional sports. Impressive in his own rights, Rob was certainly overshadowed by his older brother Scott most of his career. The younger brother racked up 186 goals and 283 assists, totalling 469 points alongside a +/- worthy of sweeping under the rug at -123. Scott, on the other hand, didn’t score as much, but made up for it with nearly twice as many assists as his little brother. 172 goals and 568 assists gave Scott 740 points with a 167 on the plus side.
Most of their careers were spent battling each other, as Rob played for the Florida Panthers from 1994-2001, and Scott for the New Jersey Devils from 1992-2004. In 2003, the two faced off in the Stanley Cup final, with Scott’s Devils beating Rob’s Anaheim Mighty ducks, Two years later in 2005, the brothers met up in Anaheim, where they would win the 2007 Stanley cup together. Those finals also saw them become the first brothers in NHL history to both play with and against one another in the Stanley cup final.
Patrick & Stephane Roy
One of these brothers became a multi time Stanley Cup Champion, the benchmark of a generation in his position, and had his jersey retired by two different teams. The other is Stephane Roy. Patrick, the legendary goaltender of the Canadiens and Avalanche was not the only member of the Roy clan to take to NHL ice. Younger brother Stephane only played 12 NHL games for the Minnesota North Stars, scoring only one goal with no assists and a -6 +/-. While the NHL wasn’t the younger Roy’s calling, he showed longevity, playing for 9 different leagues across 18 seasons.
Wayne & Brent Gretzky
Another case of one reaching superstardom and one just being notable for hitting the ice. We all know about The Great One, but not all are versed with his brother. Brent Gretzky only played 13 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning between 1993 and 1995, scoring one goal, tacking 3 assists, with a -2 +/-. Over his 17 year career, he is most notable for being one half the highest scoring sibling group in NHL history despite contributing only a single goal. He also played for the controversial Danbury Trashers of the UHL in 2004/2005.
Daniel & Henrik Sedin
Let’s flip to the cooler side of the pillow and recognize how two brothers can feed off one another to become all time greats. Daniel and Henrik were drafted 2nd and 3rd overall in the 1999 NHL draft respectively. Twin Magic and a whole lot of skill played into this duo becoming Canucks legends. Each brother played over 1,300 games for the Vancouver Canucks, With Henrik mostly serving as playmaker, and Daniel the play finisher, they fed each other an astounding number of goals. Daniel boasts 393 goals, 648 assist, a combined 1041 points with a +/- of +147. Henrik on the other hand, holds 240 goals, and 830 assists. That’s good for 1070 points, with a +165 +/-. Together, the Sedins became the 2nd highest scoring sibling group in league history, Right after the Gretzkys.
Of the nearly 100 groups of sibling players that all played skating positions I read statistic for, among pairs, the eldest brother seems to be the most successful more often, notching higher accumulations of goals and a higher +/-. But not sparingly, the younger brother seems to have the edge when it comes to assists. This is also prevalent in groups of 3 or more. The oldest scores more goals, but the assists will go back and forth between the middle and youngest. Cases for the claim of the older brother finding more success include Brian & Stephen Gionta, Paul & Steve Kariya, and Wayne & Brent Gretzky. Exceptions include Mario & Alain Lemieux.
What is even more strange is that in sibling groups where one sibling is a skater and the other a goaltender, the goaltending brother is almost always more successful from a standpoint of recognition and longevity in the NHL. Such is the case for siblings like the aforementioned Roy brothers, and Henrik & Joel Lundqvist. A notable exception is Phil & Tony Esposito, who both had greatly successful careers. I’ll come back to this one when Malcolm and P.K. Subban call it quits.
The list of great sibling groups in the NHL keeps expanding with every generation. Some rise to stardom together, some skate different paths, but all of them have made hockey a family affair. Sometimes it’s not just siblings. Cousins, Uncles and Nephews, Fathers and Sons, even Great uncles and Great nephews have kept hockey family tradition alive. Did you know that Marcel Pronovost is the Grand Uncle of Anthony Mantha? But that’s another list for another day. leave your favorite NHL sibling group in the comments and thanks for reading!