Summer is still hanging around, but we are getting closer and closer to hockey season. With less then 3 weeks until the Hurricanes first pre-season against the Buffalo Sabres on September 19th and about a month left until the season opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning, I thought it would be fun to take a look back and see some of the current and former players that have worn a Hurricanes and/or Hartford Whalers sweater by position. A Hurricanes franchise All-Star Team, if you will. Let the debate and discussions begin….
Center – Ron Francis
How can you not start with the leading scorer in franchise history? His 1,175 points (from Carolina and Hartford) are by far the most points of any player to wear a Hurricane/Whaler sweater. The second place player, Kevin Dineen, has 631 fewer points. Francis is also second all-time in assists behind some guy named Wayne Gretzky. He also was awarded two of the NHL’s most prestigious awards in the 2001-2002 season: The Lady Byng Trophy and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. He also served as Hurricanes team captain from 1999-2004.
Right Wing – Kevin Dineen
This one was a tough toss-up. Considering this is a franchise All-Star team, I had to go with Kevin Dineen over Jeff O’Neill. Most of Dineen’s 544 points (second in franchise scoring) came with his first stint in Hartford from 1984 until the 1991-92 season, when he was traded to Philadelphia. He is second in goals and third in assists with 250 and 294, respectively. Whaler fans will remember that he scored the final goal in Hartford Whaler history on April 3rd, 1997 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Left Wing – Erik Cole
Yes, I do realize how painful it was for me to write that. It can’t be taken away, though, that Erik Cole played for the Hurricanes for nine seasons after being drafted by them 71st overall in the 1998 NHL entry draft. He is 9th all-time in franchise scoring and 9th in franchise goals. He was part of the beloved BBC line during the 2002 playoffs, scoring 6 goals during those playoffs in his rookie year, including scoring the tying goal in the Molson Miracle against the Montreal Canadiens. He is a Stanley Cup Champion and also represented the United States three times so far, registering 14 points in 20 games played.
Defenseman – Glen Wesley
The only defenseman who has played for the Hurricanes to have his number retired, Glen Wesley played thirteen years for the Hartford and Carolina franchise. His 227 points with Hartford and Carolina are tops among defensemen. He is a Stanley Cup champion and the only player to have played in each of the Hurricanes’ first 10 seasons since they were relocated to North Carolina.
Goaltender – Cam Ward
The only member of the list on the active roster, Cam Ward has had a young, but so far stellar career playing for the Hurricanes. He is 175-126 in six seasons playing for the Canes, posting a career 2.74 GAA and 0.910 save percentage. He has represented Canada twice in international play (2007, 2008 World Championships), receiving a gold medal in the 2007 World Championships and a silver medal in the 2008 World Championships. He was awarded the Conn Smythe trophy as the playoff’s best player in 2006, as well as a Stanley Cup championship. During the 2011 season, he was the first pick overall in the NHL All-Star fantasy draft by his teammate, Eric Staal.
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