OK, Listen up because I’m only going to explain this once. As with anything I do, the rules are convoluted and will probably only make sense in my head. Enjoy! The only criteria for this little exercise is that each player has to have played at least 250 games in Carolina. The catch is, I’m throwing out all of the stats from the organization’s time in Hartford. If we can’t have rights to their jersey and logo, any accomplishments prior to the migration don’t count for my extremely important and definitive list. How you like ‘dem apples Hartford? For times sake, I started at number 3. I think we all know Ron Francis, Glen Wesley and Rod Brind’Amour are 1 through 3 and I don’t think that anyone would even debate that order. Once again, this is based solely on accomplishments while in the Red, White and Black. (Total games played in Carolina in parenthesis). Let the controversy begin!
4) Eric Staal – (642) The Devil Killer has his detractors. I’m not one of them. I do get frustrated with him from time to time, but he is an absolute beast when it comes to playing hard minutes for almost the entire season, every season. He plays the role he needs to in order to win, and when the pieces are there, he has shown he can. Staal averages just over 80 games and 71 points a season in his 8 seasons in The Tarheel State. When he makes the second season, he averages a point a game. What exactly is there to hate again?
*Fun Fact* Eric Staal has a brother, Jordan, who also plays with Hurricanes…….In case you haven’t heard.
5) Cam Ward – (414) Over 8 seasons The Warden has averaged 59 games per season and 23,721 minutes played. He is a Conn Smyth winner, had a monumental performance in the ’06 run (I have reservations as to if we would have won without his presence in net) and has been solid in net with flashes of pure brilliance during his time in the league. Sure his SV% and GAA could be better, but there really should be an asterisk that links to our defensive roster on some of those seasons.
*Fun Fact* On December 26, 2011 Cam Ward was the first Goalie credited with a goal since Chris Mason did it in ’05-’06. It took a tremendous amount of skill and concentration in order to……oh wait. No it didn’t.
6) Erik Cole – (557) Cole has 363 points in his 9 seasons with the organization and the way things are going he’ll probably
increase that number when we trade Ruu, Juice and Cam for him in a couple weeks. Erik was the perfect complement to pretty much any center he played with in his career here. He played the same turn and burn style with Brind’Amour as he did with Staal and more often than not, it was successful. Some may argue that Staal’s game depends on his presence. Although I don’t subscribe to this line of thinking, Staal certainly did seem to play a bit better when Binky played on his wing.
*Fun Fact* Erik Cole kind of looks like a muppet. That is all.
7) Bret Hedican – (369) The stats aren’t very pretty for #6 (105 Points, -11), but his game doesn’t translate very well to stats. You know exactly what you got with him, game in,game out, season in, season out. He was a solid presence on the blue line for 15 minutes a night that could outwit the opposition, skate almost as well as his wife, and with the gritty style he played, he hardly missed starts. Besides Big Red, Hedican is the best pure defensman to ever play on our roster. Yea, I said it.
*Fun Fact* Since 2006, August 12 has been celebrated as “Bret Hedican Day” in North St Paul, Minnesota, Hedican’s hometown. Do you think people use it as an excuse to take the day off?
8) Ray Whitney – (372) Raymond scored 334 points while in the Triangle. But his greatest attribute was that he was almost as consistent in the playoffs. In 42 playoff games, he netted 26 points. Most of those points were accrued in the ’06 run where he scored 15 total. He continues to produce offense at the NHL level and has shown that age hasn’t effected his game (or his looks for that matter, meeeeowww) Caniacs still have a bit of distaste for the way he left, but no one can deny the impact he had while in NC.
*Fun Fact* Former Cane Mike Commodore’s mother was Ray Ray’s math teacher back in Ft. Saskatchewan. I’m betting he wasn’t one of the “front row” students.
9) Arturs Irbe – (309) #1 averaged 51.5 games played per season in RDU and that number gets up closer to 60 if you don’t count the 10 games “season” he played in 03-04, his final with the team. During his tenure in Carolina he was known as a regular season star who usually faltered in the post season (Side effect of playing in an Jose?). That is, until the ’02 season when he realized he may be losing his grip on the starting job. Kevin Weekes filled in and played lights out almost every time that Irbe started under performing. But, when Archie was on, he was on. Going into the Finals against Detroit, there was debate as to who would start the series. Coach Mo ultimately decided to go with Irbe for the entirety of the series and the following season “Shady 80″ took over the starting duties.
*Fun Fact* “LikeWall” hardly ever wore new equipment. He would often stitch up his pads during the season rather than wear new pads. It was rumored that he wore the same pads for his entire career. Imagine the smell.
10) Jeff O’Neill – (536) Jeff notched 359 Pts in his 7 seasons here. He also led the team in the ’02 post season with 8G, 5A in 22 games played. The importance isn’t that he scored them so much as when and where he scored them. Most of his points were earned on the road and more than a few were timely. The most notable of them came in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Toronto: The Petey Game, where he took a puck to the eye early in the game, got sutured up, came back and scored the GWG in overtime; and Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals where he assisted in Ronnie’s overtime game winner in Hockeytown. Jeff’s production inevitably started declining and he was shipped to Toronto in ’05 where he reunited with his old pal Mo.
*Fun Fact* #92 is extremely terrified of flying. But apparently, driving while intoxicated doesn’t bother him.
Let the record show that I wanted to put Niclas Wallin somewhere on the list, but I’m a pretty sensitive person and I don’t respond well to name calling.