7 Sons of NHL Players Who Are Better Than Their Dads

Lyle Richardson@@SpectorsHockeyFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 17, 2023

7 Sons of NHL Players Who Are Better Than Their Dads

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    Gordie Howe (right) with sons Mark (left) and Marty Howe.
    Gordie Howe (right) with sons Mark (left) and Marty Howe.Bettmann

    NHL history has witnessed several players follow their fathers into the big league.

    Gordie Howe famously came out of retirement to play alongside his sons, Mark and Marty, in the World Hockey Association in 1973. The trio was still together on the Hartford Whalers when the WHA merged with the NHL six years later.

    Mark forged his own Hall of Fame career over 16 seasons, while Marty spent six seasons in the NHL until 1984-85. However, they will forever be dwarfed by their celebrated father.

    Brett Hull began his Hall of Fame NHL career six seasons after his father, Bobby Hull, retired in 1980. Both are considered among the top goal scorers of all time. They're the only father-son duo in league history to score more than 50 goals in a season and over 600 NHL career goals.

    Brett went on to outscore his dad and won two Stanley Cups to Bobby's one. However, Bobby took home the Hart twice and the Art Ross Trophy three times, while Brett won the Hart only once and never won the Art Ross Trophy. Bobby's NHL stats would've been much higher had he not spent seven seasons in the WHA.

    Other noteworthy NHL father-son player combinations include Syl Apps and Syl Jr., Emile and Pierre Bouchard, Peter, Paul and Yan Stastny, Dave and Sam Gagner, Brent and Brandon Sutter, and Mike. Nick and Marcus Foligno. Paul Stastny and the Foligno brothers remain active NHL players.

    While those sons went on to enjoy long and respectable NHL careers, they were overshadowed by their famous fathers' accomplishments. However, seven current notable NHL players have gone on to have more success than their dads. We've also compiled an honorable mention list of four current players who could surpass their fathers' achievements.

    Do you agree or disagree with our list? Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments section below.

Honorable Mention

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    Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk (left) and Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk.
    Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk (left) and Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

    The following four players have the potential to surpass their fathers' NHL exploits.

    Matthew and Brady Tkachuk

    Both are the sons of Keith Tkachuk. The former power forward is in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame after an 18-season NHL career in which he scored 538 goals and 1,065 points in 1,201 games.

    Matthew, 25, is in his seventh NHL season, with six of those with the Calgary Flames before he was traded to the Florida Panthers last season. In 472 games, he's scored 174 goals and 435 points.

    Younger brother Brady, 23, is in his fifth season with the Ottawa Senators and his second as team captain. He's tallied 105 goals and 233 points in 319 games.

    William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs

    In his eighth season with the Leafs, William has steadily improved into a reliable and versatile scorer. In 483 games with Toronto, the 26-year-old forward has netted 159 goals and 390 points. He could one day overtake his father, Michael Nylander, who had 209 goals and 679 points in 920 games during his 15-season NHL career.

    Sam Reinhart, Florida Panthers

    Sam Reinhart spent seven seasons with the Buffalo Sabres until he was traded to the Florida Panthers in 2021. The 27-year-old center has totaled 180 goals and 226 assists for 406 points in 576 games. His father, Paul, spent 11 NHL seasons as a puck-moving defenseman, finishing with 133 goals and 426 assists for 559 points in 648 games.

Tyson Barrie, Edmonton Oilers

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    Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie.
    Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie.Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Chosen by the Colorado Avalanche in the third round of the 2009 draft, defenseman Tyson Barrie has gone on to enjoy a productive career with the Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs and his current club, the Edmonton Oilers. Before Tyson joined the NHL ranks, his father, Len Barrie, also saw action in the big league.

    Len spent parts of seven seasons between 1989-90 and 2000-01 as a center with the Philadelphia Flyers, Florida Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings. In 184 career games, he tallied 19 goals and 45 assists for 64 points. He subsequently became part of a group that owned the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2008 to 2010.

    Now in his 12th NHL season, Tyson long ago eclipsed his father's on-ice stats. A puck-moving blueliner, he's totaled 100 goals and 367 assists for 467 points in 728 games. That includes three seasons with 53-plus points and six with 41 or more points.

Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes

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    Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.
    Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

    A puck-moving defenseman for the Arizona Coyotes, Jakob Chychrun has regularly appeared in NHL headlines this season as the subject of frequent trade speculation. The 24-year-old is the second Chychrun to reach the NHL ranks, following in the footsteps of his dad Jeff, who was also a defenseman.

    Chosen by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round of the 1984 NHL entry draft, Jeff spent a total of eight seasons with the Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Edmonton Oilers. A stay-at-home blueliner, he netted three goals and 22 assists for 25 points in 262 games.

    Jakob was a first-round selection of the Coyotes in 2016 and made the jump from junior hockey to the NHL in 2016-17. Despite several injuries, he's proven to be a talented offensive rearguard. In 365 games, he's tallied 58 goals and 106 assists for 164 points.

Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers

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    Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier
    Philadelphia Flyers center Sean CouturierLen Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

    Apart from 33 games with the Los Angeles Kings between 1988-89 to 1991-92, left winger Sylvain Couturier spent his 13 professional seasons in the minor leagues and in Europe. He was general manager of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from 2002 to 2022 and is now the GM of the QMJHL's Cape Breton Eagles.

    Sylvain's son, Sean, has gone on to greater NHL heights.

    Chosen eighth overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2011 draft, he made his NHL debut with the Flyers in 2011-12. He established himself among the league's top defensive forwards, winning the Frank J. Selke Trophy in 2019-20. He was also a finalist for the award in 2017-18.

    Couturier, who is currently sidelined by a back injury, has spent his entire NHL career with the Flyers. In 721 games, he's tallied 180 goals and 280 assists for 460 points. That includes consecutive 76-point performances in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins

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    Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk and his father, hockey analyst Louie DeBrusk.
    Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk and his father, hockey analyst Louie DeBrusk.Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

    Louie DeBrusk was starting his sixth NHL season when his son Jake was born on Oct. 17, 1996, in Edmonton. Known for his on-ice pugilistic abilities, the rugged left winger racked up 1,161 penalty minutes in 401 career games with the Oilers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks from 1991-92 to 2002-03.

    Now a hockey analyst with Sportsnet, DeBrusk sometimes gets to cover Jake's games with the Boston Bruins.

    In his sixth NHL campaign, the younger DeBrusk become a top-six winger with the Bruins. Louie made his career with his fists, but Jake has had more of an impact as a scorer, with 108 goals and 206 points in 357 games.

    Louie finished his career with 24 goals and 17 assists for 41 points. Jake had 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points in his rookie season in 2017-18. He's also had two seasons with 25-plus goals and three seasons with at least 42 points. Currently sidelined by hand and lower-body injuries, Jake has 30 points in 36 games this season.

Max Domi, Chicago Blackhawks

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    Max and Tie Domi at the 2013 NHL Draft.
    Max and Tie Domi at the 2013 NHL Draft.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Tie Domi was one of the most feared fighters in NHL history. Over 1,020 games in his 16-season career, he finished third for the most penalty minutes with 3,515. When he wasn't throwing punches, Tie usually played third-and-four-line minutes at right wing, especially with the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he spent 12 seasons and became a fan favorite.

    Max Domi is no threat to overtake his father in the penalty-minutes department but he's outscored his dad in far fewer games. While Tie amassed 104 goals and 245 points in his career, Max has 114 goals and 344 points in 542 games. That includes four seasons with 44-or-more points, including a career-best 72 in 2018-19.

    Tie was an enforcer and a grinding forward who knew his role and played it well. Max, however, has enjoyed success as a playmaker earning top-six minutes during stops with the Arizona Coyotes, Montreal Canadiens, Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes and Chicago Blackhawks. He currently leads Chicago with 30 points in 41 games.

Elias Lindholm, Calgary Flames

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    Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm.
    Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm.Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Drafted 237th overall in the 1987 NHL entry draft by the Los Angeles Kings, center Mikael Lindholm played only one season in the big league. He tallied two goals and four points in 18 games with the Kings in 1989-90.

    Mikael spent the remainder of that season with the Kings' AHL affiliate and the following one with the IHL's Phoenix Roadrunners. In his 15 professional seasons from 1986-97 to 2000-01, he played 13 of them in Europe.

    His son, Elias, was drafted fifth overall in 2013 by the Carolina Hurricanes and made his NHL debut in 2013-14. He spent five seasons with the Hurricanes until he was traded to the Calgary Flames in 2018.

    Now in his 10th NHL season, Elias has garnered a reputation as a skilled two-way center, totaling 195 goals and 294 assists for 489 points in 706 career games. He's reached or exceeded 44 points six times, including a career-best 82 points last season when he was a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy.

Zach Parise, New York Islanders

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    New York Islanders winger Zach Parise
    New York Islanders winger Zach PariseBrett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Joining the New York Islanders in 2021, Zach Parise followed in the footsteps of his late father, J.P. Parise, who spent nearly four years of his 14-season NHL career with the Islanders.

    It was the second time he followed his dad's path. J.P. played almost nine seasons with the Minnesota North Stars, while Zach spent nine of his 18 NHL seasons with the Minnesota Wild.

    The elder Parise entered the NHL in 1965-66 with the Boston Bruins. During his career, which also included brief stops in Toronto and Cleveland, he became one of the league's better two-way forwards.

    J.P. also played for Canada in the famous 1972 Summit Series. In 890 games, he scored 238 goals and 594 points, including two seasons with more than 70 points.

    Zach also became a skilled two-way forward when he joined the NHL in 2005-06 with the New Jersey Devils. He's enjoyed a longer and more productive career than his dad, with 420 goals and 864 points in 1,186 games. Zach has had 11 seasons with 42-plus points and seven with over 60 points, including a 94-point campaign in 2008-09 and 82 points in 2009-10.

    Stats (as of Jan. 15, 2023) via NHL.com and Hockey Reference.