Daniel and Henrik Sedin were remarkably both drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, all thanks to Brian Burke’s brilliant deal making – known as one of the best moves in NHL history. For the first time in league history, identical twins would play on the same team and even the same line. The Sedins have gone on to become #1 (Henrik) and #2 (Daniel) on the Vancouver Canucks’ all-time points list.
It’s not surprising that the twins would’ve had chemistry, but nobody knew just how much. Alex Burrows, an entry on this list, was quoted in saying, “They communicate like dolphins. They don’t really talk on the ice. It’s only sounds.” Call it “Twintuition” – the Sedins always seem to know exactly where the other is. Their playmaking skills and ability to cycle the enemy team into a dizzy is truly incredible and very fun to watch.
Throughout their great careers, the Sedins have been accompanied by many line mates – some have been great and well, some haven’t. It takes a special kind of player to succeed with the Sedins – the player needs a scoring touch and an ability to find open ice because if you’re open, they’ll find you.
In this list we will be looking at eight of the best and seven of the worst wingers to play alongside the twins. This list is not to say any of these players haven’t been good players and is just based on their success with the Sedins if any – some have plain and simply just been better than others. Please keep in mind that this is in no particular order.
With all of that out of the way, let’s get into it!
15. Best: Mikael Samuelsson
First up on the better side of things is Mikael Samuelsson, a Swedish sniper that played his best hockey during his time in Vancouver. He played the better part of 13 NHL seasons for six different teams and stopped off with the Canucks for 155 games. With the ‘Nucks, Samuelsson notched a decent 106 points and his only 30-goal season (2009-10).
Maybe it was the mutual Swedish background, but the Sedins seemed to click decently well with Samuelsson. He was a goal-scorer and for perhaps the first time in his career, he was playing with capable playmakers – there’s definitely a correlation between the Sedins and his only 30-goal season. Following two back-to-back 50+ point seasons, Samuelsson was traded to the Florida Panthers just six games into the 2011-12 season.
14. Worst: Trent Klatt
The first entry for the worst seven is Trent Klatt, the very first line mate of the Sedins. Klatt was a good player and it’s hard to affiliate him with the term “worst” but he was definitely among the weaker line mates the Sedins played with. In his 782 game career, Klatt went tape-to-twine 143 times and added exactly 200 helpers. He was consistently good for 15-30 points-per-season in Vancouver.
Granted, the Sedins were new to the league when Klatt skated with them but they just did not gel. This is largely explainable by Klatt’s style of play – he was a chip-and-chase third line grinder. He just didn’t have that ability to find the open ice and give an option to the Sedins. If anything, Klatt served as a great initial mentor as the twins entered the league.
13. Best: Anson Carter
At the lucky #13 spot is Anson Carter, a Toronto, Ontario native that stopped off in Vancouver for one season during his career. Carter played in about 10 seasons of NHL hockey and was a bit of a suitcase, being subjected to five trades – he played for eight different teams (yikes…). Carter played 674 NHL games and rippled the mesh 202 times with 219 assists.
Carter landed in Vancouver for the 2005-06 season and played a majority of that season with the Sedins – funnily enough, he scored 33 goals (Henrik’s number) and added 22 assists (Daniel’s number). Carter was another player that had their only 30+ goals eason while playing with the Sedins. He was great at finding that aforementioned open ice and was almost always a back-door option for the twins. Unfortunately, he let his single-season success get to his head and demanded way too much money – his career crashed and burned and he played only 64 more games in the NHL.
12. Worst: Loui Eriksson
The next entry is Loui Eriksson – the latest winger to play alongside the Sedins. Another Swedish-born sniper to play with twins, one might be hopeful for similar results to what was seen with earlier entry, Mikael Samuelsson – unfortunately, that has not been the case so far. With two 30+ goal seasons under his belt, Canucks management had high hopes for Eriksson with the Sedins and signed him to a six-year, $36 million dollar contract.
Eriksson and the Sedins are very familiar with each other and have often played together during international tournaments – that paired with Eriksson coming off of a 30-goal season in Boston, it makes sense to assume success. Last season however, Eriksson only found the net 11 times and was a -9 during his 65-game season. Granted, the Canucks were nothing short of terrible last season but Eriksson certainly did not help the cause. Hopefully, the 31-year-old can turn his play around in the next coming seasons.
11. Best: Trevor Linden
In at #11 is the infamous #16 and great Vancouver Canucks captain, Trevor Linden. Linden played the better part of 16 (how about that) of his 19 NHL seasons with the Canucks and inserted himself into history as one of the best Canucks of all time. in 1,382 games, Linden rippled the mesh 375 times and assisted on an additional 492. He hands down played his best hockey in Vancouver and peaked with a 33-goal, 80-point season during the 1995-96 campaign.
Linden played in parts of two seasons from 2001-2003 alongside the twins and contributed 75 points in 135 games during the stint. Still very early in the twins’ careers, Linden undoubtedly served as a great mentor and role model to the rising superstars. Linden was quoted while talking about the Sedins with saying, “Playing with those guys, you are the third brother.”
10. Worst: Jannik Hansen
Next up is Jannik Hansen, the Danish speedster who had a brief stint with the Sedins. The “Great Dane” is a player who makes up for his lacking puck skills with a great skating ability. A solid fixture on any NHL team’s checking line, Hansen has chalked up 107 goals and 242 points in his 580 career games while being a +46 and only tallying 267 PIMS. Hansen played the first nine-and-a-half seasons of his career with the Canucks – he was traded to the San Jose Sharks after playing 28 games in the 2016-17 season.
From 2010-14, Hansen was given short-lived stints with the Sedins – the thought process was Hansen’s speed and nose for the net alongside the twins would equate to goals. His numbers weren’t awful, but they were nowhere near adequate for a first-liner – he peaked during that four year stint at 16 goals. Those seasons were among the Canucks’ best in the last decade and Hansen’s role was definitely that of a third-liner, not a first-liner.
9. Best: Radim Vrbata
The next entry on the better side of things is Radim Vrbata, a pure sniper. Vrbata is a very skilled winger with a quick release and pin-point accurate wrist shot that has found twine 279 times in his NHL career so far. Vrbata is currently the offensive backbone for the up-and-coming Arizona Coyotes and just finished the 2016-17 season with 20 goals and 35 helpers in 81 games. Vrbata is a two-time 30+ goal scorer and one of those seasons was with the Vancouver Canucks.
Vrbata joined the Canucks for the 2014-15 season and was added to play alongside the Sedins and do what he does best, score goals. He did just that in his first season with the ‘Nucks, lighting the lamp 31 times and adding 32 assists in 79 games. The next season was about half as productive but the team was also half as good as they were in the previous season. Vrbata’s sniping abilities really worked well with the twins and it’s a shame it didn’t last longer.
8. Worst: Martin Rucinsky
At #8 we have Martin Rucinsky, a talented winger that most certainly didn’t bring his talent to Vancouver. The Czech played 961 games in the NHL and managed to rack up 241 goals and 612 points during his time. The three-time 25+ goal-scorer arrived in Vancouver at the trade deadline during the 2003-04 season.
He played with the Sedins and was really no help for a squad looking to push deep into the playoffs. Rucinsky played only 13 games for the Canucks, scoring once and adding two assists. He then went back to the New York Rangers for the following season – the team the Canucks picked him up from in the first place. He of course went on to have one of his best professional seasons – classic Canucks’ luck.
7. Best: Taylor Pyatt
In at the unlucky #7 position is the big, towering winger, Taylor Pyatt. Standing at 6’4″ and 230 lbs, Pyatt was a monster in the NHL and a forward most defenders had trouble containing. The big man notched 140 goals and the exact same amount of assists in his 859 game career, playing his two best seasons with the Vancouver Canucks.
With Pyatt and the Sedins playing together, it made for a very big and talented line that dominated the cycle game. Pyatt played with the Sedins for the majority of the 2006-07 season and for parts of the 2007-08 one too – his two best professional seasons. He tallied two consecutive 37-point seasons and one 23-goal season with the Sedins. The 2006-07 campaign was his best NHL season (23 goals and 37 points), seeing him finish sixth in team scoring – the Sedins finished first and second.
6. Worst: Zack Kassian
Zack Kassian is a big winger that was brought over from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline of the 2011-12 season. Kassian has played in 313 games so far in his career and is currently two points shy of 100. Kassian was projected to be a good second line power forward but realistically just doesn’t have it, at least not yet. The Canucks were certainly guilty of expecting too much from him.
Slotted in with the Sedins, Kassian just didn’t gel with them. His gritty style of play was all well and good and definitely helped establish cycles but his lack of hockey sense just didn’t see him finding open ice for passes from the twins. He had his career-best season (so far) with the Canucks during the 2013-14 season with 14 goals and 15 assists in 73 games. Kassian is currently with the Edmonton Oilers and is really finding his role as he approaches his prime.
5. Best: Markus Naslund
The next entry is one of the best Canucks of all time, Markus Naslund. “Nazzy” was a scoring machine that spent the majority of twelve seasons in Vancouver and tore up the league during his tenure. A member of the infamous “West Coast Express” line, Naslund had six 30+ goal seasons that included three seasons of over 40.
Naslund slotted in with the Sedins periodically from 2006-2008 and in that time notched 49 goals and 115 points in 164 games. With their combined skill and Swedish connection, they were quite the trio. When asked about the key to success with the Sedins, Naslund was quoted in saying, “You’ve got to be ahead of the game, like they are, to have a chance at success.” Following that 2008 season, Naslund went to the New York Rangers where he finished out his prominent NHL career.
4. Worst: Jeff Tambellini
Up next is Jeff Tambellini, a speedy winger out of Calgary, Alberta. Tambellini played in Vancouver for only 62 games during the 2010-11 season – one of his six NHL seasons. In his short career, he found twine 27 times and added 36 assists. Not surprisingly, Tambellini’s best season was with the Canucks – definitely due to playing with the Sedins.
At this point, later entry, Alex Burrows was the primary winger for the Sedins but when he was out, Tambellini was one of the replacements that filled the void. During that 2010-11 season, he scored nine times and added eight helpers. Tambellini’s play style just didn’t mesh the Sedins and they, plain and simply, did not find success because of this clash of styles. Chemistry really is huge when it comes to playing with the twins.
3. Best: Ryan Kesler
In at the bronze position is Ryan Kesler, a long-time Canuck and one of the best two-way players in the NHL. Kesler played the first 10 seasons of his great career in Vancouver and put up very impressive numbers. He was a consistent 20+ goal scorer and even tallied 41 in 2010-11, the year the Canucks went to the Stanley Cup finals.
During Kesler’s last year in Vancouver (2013-14), Kesler played a healthy amount of games alongside the twins. In 77 games that season, “RK-17” rippled the mesh 25 times and helped out on an additional 18. When asked about finding success with the Sedins, Kesler was quoted in saying, “Really all you have to do is get open and they are going to do their magic, and when they see you they put it right on your tape.”
2. Worst: Zac Dalpe
The last entry on the worst side of things is Zac Dalpe, a Paris, Ontario product. Dalpe has played in seven extremely broken seasons for four different teams and potted a meager twelve goals and twelve assists in his professional career. Dalpe stopped off in Vancouver for the 2013-14 season and played a handful of games with the Sedins, finding little-to-no success.
The 2013-14 season was once again, not surprisingly, Dalpe’s best season that saw to him playing his most amount of games (55) and scoring his career high four goals and three assists. To his credit, Dalpe naturally skates down the middle but his net-driving play style easily could have meshed with the Sedins – unfortunately, it did not. He was quoted in saying, “I think you’ve just got to take advantage of your situation when you’re on their line.”.
1. Best: Alex Burrows
Last but not least, is the best winger the Sedins ever played with, Alex Burrows. The French-Canadian played the majority of his career in Vancouver and was just recently moved to the Ottawa Senators at the 2016-17 deadline. In 842 career games, Burrows has scored 199 goals and added 196 assists. During his time in Vancouver, he scored 25+ goals four times with one 35-goal season.
From 2008-2016, Burrows was a regular fixture on the Sedin line and was the perfect compliment to their game. With a big net presence and an uncanny ability to create and find open ice, Burrows made it easy for the Sedins to feed him passes. Understanding the Sedins’ play style was a huge part of Burrows’ success and in regards to that he said, “They see each other. They’re able to make passes where no one would think they’d be there, but they still make it.” As Burrows moves deeper into the playoffs with the Senators, I wish him nothing but the best.
Thanks for reading!
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