Flames Coyotes Hockey

Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Tanev (8) shields the puck from Arizona Coyotes left wing Nick Ritchie during the first period during an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Brett Ritchie and Nick Ritchie were born less than two years apart in Orangeville, Ontario. They've been together in the NHL for several seasons.

Now they're linked forever in hockey history.

The Arizona Coyotes traded Nick Ritchie and defenseman Troy Stecher to the Calgary Flames just before the deadline Friday for Brett Ritchie and minor-leaguer Connor Mackey. According to NHL stats, it's the first brother-for-brother trade in league history.

"I think it got leaked out, so they were laughing by the time I called them," Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. "It's unique. If nothing else, we're unique. It just worked out that way."

Calgary is looking to climb into a playoff spot by adding Stetcher and Ritchie, the latter of whom has 21 points in 53 games this season.


While the Ritchie brothers were laughing, neither James van Riemsdyk nor younger brother Trevor got a call saying he was traded. James, a 33-year-old forward for Philadelphia, and Trevor, a 31-year-old defenseman for Washington, are set to become unrestricted free agents this summer.

Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said the only offer he got for James came at 1:40 p.m. EST Friday and was contingent on another team getting a different trade done. Before that, he said he worked the phones for weeks trying to find a home for his van Riemsdyk.

"From my experience, and every other deal I've done, typically you come in and say the player, we're looking for ‘X,' and the other team says, "Well, that might be a little rich, I'll give you ‘Y'", and then you haggle," Fletcher said. "Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I guess what surprised me was I wasn't even able to get a team to say, 'I'll give you this.'"

The Capitals could have gotten something for Trevor, but with three defensemen — Martin Fehervary, Nick Jensen and John Carlson (long term) — out with injuries, keeping him and pending free agent forward Conor Sheary seemed like a more prudent move.

"We fielded a couple offers," GM Brian MacLellan said. "I think there was a trade-off between ‘We liked the players, we have some interest in bringing them back' and what the return is, so if something really made sense, we would've pursued it, but we'd rather have the guys on our team and the chance to bring them back going forward, than the return was what we were being offered for."


While Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings decided to sell at the deadline and shift their focus to next season, Pierre Dorion and the Ottawa Senators pushed some chips in the middle of the table for a change.

The Senators acquired Jakob Chychrun from Arizona, ending a lengthy saga in the desert for the 24-year-old defenseman who has been on the block since before last season. Ottawa gave up a conditional first-round pick this year and second next year for Chychrun, who Dorion pointed out is not a rental since he's signed for two more seasons.

"It's great to be a buyer," Dorion said. "The most important thing this year for us was to play meaningful games around the trade deadline. ... To me, the best growth this team can have for future success is to play meaningful games this year."

With files from the Canadian Press.

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