One of the best parts of watching hockey, or even sports in general, is watching relationships develop between players. Whether it’s a rivalry that’s all in good fun between opponents or a close bond between long-time teammates, it really helps fans build a connection to the game. One of the most unique connections in professional sports is between siblings.
The NHL has seen many cases of this, with some brothers playing together, some playing against each other, even twins playing in sync for their entire careers. Today, we chose three of the most memorable families in recent NHL history and took a look at how the game has helped strengthen their bond over the years. We sorted these sets of siblings into “past”, “present”, and “future.” This story will be published in three parts, the third focusing on the NHL’s siblings of the future.
Future: The Stromes (Ryan, Dylan, and Matt)
Ryan Strome is the oldest of the Strome brothers, and the one with the longest NHL career thus far. He put himself on the map when he was traded from the OHL’s Barrie Colts to the Niagara Ice Dogs during the 2009-2010 season. In his full season with Niagara, Strome had 106 points (33 goals and 73 assists) in 65 games.
After that great season, he was selected by the New York Islanders, fifth overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The following year, he had 30 goals and 38 assists for 68 points in 46 games. After those two great seasons, Strome was given the “C” on his jersey and named the team’s captain. In his final year as an Ice Dog, he recorded 34 goals and 60 assists for 94 points in 53 games.
After a little over one season with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Strome had a fantastic rookie season. He put up 17 goals and 33 assists, totaling 50 points in 81 games. Unfortunately, he wasn’t quite able to replicate that performance. The forward had 28 points (20 goals and eight assists in 71 games) the year after, and 30 points (13 goals and 17 assists in 69 games) in the year following that.
Over the summer of 2017, the New York Islanders traded Ryan Strome to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Jordan Eberle. The trade was widely seen as uneven, with the Islanders getting the upper hand. Strome faced a lot of criticism in his first year with the Oilers since Eberle was more skilled than he was. However, Eberle comparisons aside, Strome had a great first season as an Oiler, putting up 34 points (13 goals and 21 assists), his highest point total since his 50-point rookie season. This was also the first time Strome played in all 82 games during the season.
As for his 2017-2018 campaign, he only had two points in his first 18 games (one goal and one assist). In the middle of November, the Oilers traded him to the New York Rangers in exchange for Ryan Spooner. After his younger brother Dylan was traded just days later, he was quoted saying, “my family’s a suitcase.” Since the swap, he has nine points (four goals and five assists), on a much better pace than the one he was on in Edmonton.
The middle child in the Strome family also has a long history in the OHL, beginning his professional career in 2013. He really broke out in his second season with the Erie Otters, scoring 45 goals and 84 assists in 68 games for 129 points. This was also his first season serving as an alternate captain.
That offseason, the Arizona Coyotes chose the forward third overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. The following season, he was named the captain of the Otters and recorded 111 points (37 goals and 74 assists) in 56 games.
Strome’s most memorable Erie Otters season came at a time when not many people expected him to be in the OHL. During the 2016-2017 season, he played seven games with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, but only put up one point, an assist. He was sent back to Erie, where he recorded 22 goals and 53 assists for 75 points in just 35 games. The point total was not what made the season so special, though. The Erie Otters won the OHL championship that year, their first since 2002. Strome played 22 games in the playoffs that campaign, where he scored 14 goals and 20 assists for 34 points.
From there, the center was ready to start battling for a roster spot in the NHL. In 21 games with the Arizona Coyotes last season, he recorded just four goals and five assists for nine points. He was sent down to the Tuscon Roadrunners of the AHL, where he notched 53 points, made up of 22 goals and 31 assists, in 50 games.
This season, he played in 20 games with the Arizona Coyotes, only putting up three goals and three assists for six points. Just eight days after his brother Ryan was traded, Dylan Strome was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks along with Brendan Perlini in exchange for Nick Schmaltz.
Ryan and Dylan are the only two Strome brothers to have played against each other at the NHL level, with Ryan’s then-Islanders scoring on Dylan’s then-Coyotes at one of the few points when both of them were on the ice together.
Though the trade between Arizona and Chicago shocked many fans, Strome is already thriving as a Blackhawk, with six goals and seven assists for 13 points in 19 games. However, at just 21-years-old, Dylan Strome has a long career ahead of him, and many years to improve even further.
Matthew Strome, the youngest of the brothers, has only been involved in professional hockey for a few years, yet has shown great promise. He began playing in the OHL four years ago in 2015, with 16 goals and 22 points for a total of 38 points in 61 games for the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The following season, the left-wing played in 66 games for Hamilton, notching 34 goals and 28 assists for 62 points, a huge jump from the season before. Last season, he scored six more points in one fewer game, with 37 goals and 31 assists for 68 points in 65 games.
In last year’s NHL Entry Draft, he was selected 105th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers organization. Though he was picked the latest out of the three brothers in his family, he was projected to go earlier, and his numbers (as mentioned earlier) tell a different story.
So far during this season, the forward has been having a great campaign. Matt Strome has played 39 games with Hamilton thus far this year, with 15 goals and 28 assists recorded for 43 points. He is averaging just over one point per game, a great pace for someone drafted in the fourth round.
If he continues on this pace, he’ll have about 90 points by the end of the season, which would be a career high and another big improvement from his previous seasons. If his talent is able to translate to higher levels of competition (the NHL), then he could become a skilled player with a long career, following in the footsteps of his two older brothers.
(All statistics via Elite Prospects)
Thanks for following along with this little series on Puck It Up! To read “Oh, Brother!: The NHL’s Siblings of the Past, Present, and Future” in full from the beginning, click here for part one about the Sedin twins and click here for part two about the Staal brothers.