The Next Tier
I’m sure that at least a few of you are swearing at me through your screens. But Jeb, what about this move? How could you forget about Player X?
I wanted to focus on what I felt were the biggest trades during the first ten years. While a lot of that is absolutely objective, there is a considerable amount of subjectivity that pops up. Here are a few deals that didn’t make the main list but are worthy of note:
Hurricanes acquire Martin Gelinas and Kirk McLean
Despite his previous accomplishments, Kirk McLean had a very short stint with the Hurricanes. On the other hand, Martin Gelinas spent 348 games with Carolina, notching 165 points. In 35 playoff games, Gelinas added 11 points, none bigger than the overtime winner in Game 6 of the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals that gave the Hurricanes to their first-ever Stanley Cup Finals berth.
The Secret Weapon
A trade on the first day of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft gave the Carolina Hurricanes the first pick in the 4th round which was used to select Swedish defenseman Niclas Wallin. Though Wallin played 517 regular-season games with the Hurricanes as a steady defender, he is best recognized for his postseason goal-scoring which includes two game-winners from the 2002 playoffs (including the Molson Miracle). Wallin capped it off with a breakaway overtime winner in Game 2 of the 2006 Semi-Finals against the New Jersey Devils.
The Twilight’s Last Gleason
After losing the Sidney Crosby lottery, the Hurricanes held the 3rd overall pick in the 2005 Draft, using it to select defenseman Jack Johnson. In need of help on the backend and with Johnson unwilling to sign, his rights were shipped to the LA Kings along with Oleg Tverdovsky in return for Tim Gleason and Eric Belanger.
While Belanger didn’t last a full season with the Hurricanes, Gleason’s hard-nosed style made him a fixture on Carolina’s blueline for 546 games over two tours. One of my favorite memories of Gleason comes from Game 7 against the New Jersey Devil in the 2009 Quarter-Finals.
Down by one late in the 3rd period, Gleason slid on his knees to keep the puck in the Devils’ zone before moving the puck across to Joni Pitkanen who then wired a pass to Jussi Jokinen who, in turn, buried the game-tying goal. Without Gleason’s desperation play, the Devils likely close the game out and send the Hurricanes home.