Having written about many players throughout NHL history now, I’ve come across several brother pairings that have both been dominant. This got me thinking as to how I’d rank the many brother duos in NHL history, so I decided to make a Top 10 list, something I love doing.
It’s worth noting that for this list I am strictly sticking to pairs of brothers, not threes or more, meaning the Sutters don’t get a free pass to the top of the list. In the case where there were groupings of more than two, I just considered the best two brothers. Also note that I placed an emphasis on both brothers being good NHL players, thus the Gretzkys (with Brent scoring 4 career points) don’t get a free pass either. With the details out of the way, let us commence!
- Peter and Anton Stastny
While this duo had a third part (Marian), Peter and Anton were the best and longest tenured of the Stastnys. Both of them joined the Quebec Nordiques in 1980 and immediately made huge impacts. Peter exploded with 109 points winning the Calder trophy at 24 years old. In the following 1981-82 season, Peter would have an unbelievable 93 assists and 139 points. Peter would continue his run and end up with six consecutive season of 100 or more points before injuries cut short his 1986-87 season He managed one final 100+ season in 1987-88 with 111 points before seeing a dip in his production that led to a trade to the New Jersey Devils in early 1990. Peter had a stunning 1239 points in just 977 games and had more points in the 1980s than any player not named “Gretzky”.
Anton, the younger of the two started off with 85 points and his best season followed in 1982-83 when he managed a 60-assist season with 92 points. While Anton wasn’t the superstar his older brother was, he was always a reliable offensive force that was not to be underrated. Anton regularly hovered around a point-per-game and left the NHL after playing 9 seasons, all for the Quebec Nordiques and managing 636 points in 650 games.
- Kevin and Derian Hatcher
The Hatchers were a pair of giants that knew how to use their size effectively as defensemen. Kevin, the elder by six years began his career in the mid-80s and staked his claim in the NHL as an big 6’3”, 230lb offensive defenseman. Kevin’s best years were with Washington in the early 90s as he had two 70+ point seasons, peaking at 79 points in 83 games during the explosion of the 1992-93 season. Hatcher scored 34 goals during that season, a mark that only Doug Wilson, Paul Coffey, and Bobby Orr have surpassed.as defensemen. Despite his offensive and physical dominance, Hatcher never won any individual awards, peaking at 4th in Norris voting during the 1992-93 season. He retired with 1157 games and an impressive 677 points.
Amazingly, Derian Hatcher was even larger than his older brother. Towering at 6’5” and 235 lbs, Derian made his mark as a hard-hitting stay-at-home defender who made sure that life was hard for opposing forwards. Derian started his NHL career in 1991 with the Minnesota North Stars and finished 7th in Calder voting due to his steady play, even at just 19 years of age. In the late 90s as Derian entered his mid and late 20s, his play became even more reliable and he began to be recognized for it. He finished 7th in Norris voting during the 1998-99 season and peaked years later in the 2002-03 season when he was a finalist, finishing third in the Norris voting while scoring 30 points and having a +37 +/- rating. While he didn’t win the Norris, he did get voted to the Second NHL All-Star Team in that season. Derian retired with 1045 games to his name and a reputation as one of the hardest defensemen to play against in his time.
- Bill and Bun Cook
Time to go back in time. Way back in time. Back to the 1920s and 30s. Bill and Bun Cook were two forwards who entered the league with the New York Rangers in 1926. Despite joining the NHL at the same time, Bill was much older than his brother Bun, joining at the age of 30. Bill was an immediate star, leading the NHL in goals with 33 and points with 37 in his first season. After several solid, but not dominant seasons, Bill broke out again, winning First All-Star Team honours twice in a row before another dominant season where he led the NHL in goals for the third time in his career and points for the second time. He not only earned First All-Star Team honours, but placed second in Hart voting. Most amazing of all, Bill did this all at the age of 36. Cook had one more season on the Second Team All-Stars before later retiring in 1937 at the ripe age of 40.
Bun entered the NHL in the same year as his brother, but being about 7 years younger, he was just 23 at the start of his NHL career. Bun, like Bill, was a long-time Ranger during his career and was a reliable offensive player during his career. He regularly surpassed 30 points and had a solid season in the 1930-31, with 35 points in 44 games, earning him the sole solo honour of his career, a place on the Second All-Star Team. Bun moved to the Boston Bruins for the 1936-37 season, but after a second consecutive unimpressive season, he retired in the same season as his older brother.
- Bobby and Dennis Hull
Bobby Hull was one of the best scorers to play the game, but many forget that his younger brother Dennis was no slouch either. Bobby entered the NHL in the late 50s with a solid rookie season, but didn’t dominate the NHL until his third season, when he led the NHL in goals and points. In the 1961-62 season, he became the third player to score 50 goals in a season. The 1965-66 season was perhaps his most impressive as he became the first player to surpass the 50-goal mark, scoring 54 goals. In that season, he also set another NHL record with the most points in a season at 97 points, despite missing 5 games and only playing 65 games. Bobby would push the goal record to 58 and later dominate the WHA during his 30s. In total, Bobby led the NHL in goals 7 times in his 16-year NHL career and all seven seasons happened in the span of just 10 years.
By the time Dennis joined the Black Hawks, Bobby had already become a legend. Like his older brother, it took Dennis three seasons until he started to become a solid offensive forward. In his 6th year, Dennis managed to score 30 goals for the first time and even hit 40 goals in the 1970-71 season. In the 1972-73 season, with the absence of his brother, who had left to play in the WHA, Dennis set a new personal best with 90 points including 39 goals and 51 assists. He was rewarded with a spot on the Second All-Star Team. Dennis retired with 959 NHL games and 303 goals.
- Charlie and Lionel Conacher
The Conachers have a long history of great hockey players. This particular generation had three brothers who were all star players, but I chose Charlie and Lionel as my top two. (Roy, who starred with the Bruins and Blackhawks in the 40s, was the third brother). Charlie was one of the most dominant goal scorers in the 1930s and led the Toronto Maple Leafs to much success. He led the NHL in goals for five of six seasons during the early 30s and scored 36 goals in the 1934-35 season with 57 points, both the highest single season totals of the decade. Charlie was voted to the First Team All-Star three times and finished second in Hart voting once as well. Charlie ran into injury problems at the end of his career and had to retire at the age of 31.
Lionel was known as “Big Train” and for good reason. At 6’2” and 195lbs, Lionel was significantly larger than most NHL players at the time and used his size accordingly as a defenseman. While he was rarely an offensive force, he was respected for his physical presence and his defensive play. Late into his career in the 30s, Lionel finished second in Hart voting with Chicago and ended his career on a high note, again finishing second in Hart voting, this time with the Montreal Maroons. Lionel was also later voted the top Canadian athlete of the half-century in 1950. Not only was Lionel a star NHL player but he also excelled at football in the Canadian Football League and as a star lacrosse player. Incredibly, hockey is often cited as one of the sports he was worst at in his professional career.