With Carolina Hurricanes Defenseman Ron Hainsey now traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins, we officially say goodbye to a great Hurricanes player.
Thank you, Ron Hainsey. It might sound odd thanking a Carolina Hurricanes player that didn’t grab the headlines or wasn’t all that dynamic. However, for the last 4 seasons, no Hurricane brought as much, day in and day out, as Ron Hainsey.
On a team that featured three-time all-star Justin Faulk and Jeff Skinner, Ron Hainsey quietly stood alone as the Canes most important player in his time here. Hainsey exhibited leadership both on and off the ice. Even more than that, though, Hainsey’s time with the Hurricanes will be felt for years to come.
When he joined the Hurricanes, he was a late free agent signing with most teams casting out the former 1st round pick. He had not scored a single goal in the two seasons prior. Then GM Jim Rutherford gave him a chance. Luckily, Rutherford made a good call. Hainsey played his 300th Hurricanes game just before being traded, only missing 2 games his entire Carolina career.
The veteran also had a knack for scoring big goals out of nowhere. Much like fellow cult-hero defenseman Nic Wallin. No better can this be seen than a few weeks ago against the New York Islanders. ‘Elite Sniper’ Ron Hainsey scored 2 goals, with the second being a beautiful overtime winner. He would always stick with it, no matter the score.
That determination and team-first mentality were at the forefront of Hainsey’s game. The Ronster would stick up for everyone, whether that was taking hits or dropping the gloves to send a message. He wasn’t only a character guy, though. Hainsey also was a shining example of defensive responsibility and smart decision making.
Together with other veteran blueliners Andrej Sekera and John-Michael Liles, Hainsey helped support and shape the Canes defensive mentality of the past seasons. As the longest serving of the three, Hainsey’s influence on the young Canes blue line will be seen for years, if not a decade. Hainsey was a calming presence as Justin Faulk’s partner, helping to shape the defensive side of Faulk’s game. If you look at Brett Pesce’s game, you can already see the second year player jump up into the rush smartly, just as Hainsey would do. Finally, there is no doubt Hainsey’s leadership and character was and will be influential on young Noah Hanifin.
Everyone knew this was going to happen with the Carolina Hurricanes slipping in the standings, but it still is a bummer. In almost every way, Hainsey was the Hurricanes on ice coach and mentor, helping to shape the new iteration of this franchise. For doing so, Canes fans owe Hainsey a great deal of gratitude. When the day comes, the Canes get out of their dark days, guys like Ron Hainsey should be thanked. His service to the team will be missed and everyone in Caniac Nation hopes for Hainsey to find success in his first ever playoff series. Good luck Ronster!