Hockey is a family sport. The NHL has always been filled with siblings, and for some reason the current crop of players under contract with the Philadelphia Flyers organization tend to be the red-headed stepchild of the family. Across the sport of hockey they seem to have more talented family members who are clearly the favorites at the family dinner table.
Number 5: Matt Strome
The Strome brothers are pretty well known in the NHL. Ryan has carved out a successful career with almost 600 games under his belt, his younger brother Dylan was the third overall pick in 2015 and currently plays for the Chicago Blackhawks. The youngest, and also biggest brother of the trio is Philadelphia Flyers prospect Matt Strome, who was a fourth round pick in 2017. The older brothers apparently received most of the high-end skill in the family as Matt’s NHL future looks bleak.
Number 4: Cal O’Reilly
Current Lehigh Valley Phantoms captain Cal O’Reilly has carved out a successful AHL career with 644 points in 775 American League contests. The four-time AHL All-Star has multiple records with various different teams. If that last name sounds familiar, it’s because his younger brother is St. Louis Blues forward and Stanley Cup champion Ryan O’Reilly. The two briefly played together in Buffalo during the 2016-17 season and Ryan scored a goal assisted by Cal, making the two the first brother duo to record a goal for the Buffalo Sabres.
Number 3: Ryan Fitzgerald
For those of you not up on your current Lehigh Valley Phantoms team, you’re probably wondering who the hell is Ryan Fitzgerald? Well, he has quite a few family ties that you’d recognize. His father is former NHLer and current GM of the New Jersey Devils Tom Fitzgerald. His younger brother Casey is a 2016 3rd round pick of the Buffalo Sabres, and he is also cousins with Kevin and Jimmy Hayes, as well as Matthew and Brady Tkachuk. Talk about a hockey family!
Number 2: Travis Konecny
Travis Konecny may not have a brother in the NHL, but his cousin is current Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat. He’s a four-time 20-plus-goal scorer and has eclipsed the 50-point plateau on three separate occasions. Konecny, on the other hand, is only a three-time 20-goal scorer and only hit 50 points once.
Number 1: Brennan Saulnier
Current Phantoms tough guy Brennan Saulnier may not have a brother in the NHL, but he does have a sister that is a key member of the women’s hockey scene in Canada. Jillian Saulnier, who is a member of the Canada’s Women’s National Team, has won a sliver medal at the 2018 Olympics, and two silver medals at the 2015 and 2016 World Championships. She also has a gold medal from the 2021 World Championships and 2018 U-18 Championships.
The Flyers were the winners of the Linus Sandin sweepstakes in 2020, and what originally seemed like a big victory has been closer to winning a 1992 Geo Metro versus a top hockey prospect. He’s going to be 26 in the spring and hasn’t exactly dazzled in his 30 games for the Phantoms, recording just six goals and 11 points in two seasons. His younger brother is Rasmus Sandin, the 2018 first round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Rasmus is still climbing the ladder of the Leafs’ development system, but at just 21 years old he appears to have a bright future in front of him.
A prototypical Ron Hextall draft pick if ever there was one, 2015 fifth round pick David Kase made the jump to North America from his native Czech Republic in 2018. He hung around the Phantoms roster for three seasons only playing seven games in the NHL over two seasons then fled back to Europe during the 2021 offseason but was still qualified by the Flyers to retain his rights. His older brother is current Maple Leaf forward Ondrej Kase, who has 234 NHL games with three different teams under his belt.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: hamiltonbulldogs.com