With the 2019-2020 National Hockey League regular season right around the corner, we look back at the history of lineups. With lineups featuring multiple Conference Finals appearances and a Stanley Cup, which lineup was the best in team history?
A look back on this past season shows us one of the best years in goaltending for the Carolina Hurricanes. Although lots of pieces clicked, goal-scoring, especially on the powerplay, was an issue that ultimately had the Hurricanes eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals.
With the history of the Carolina Hurricanes, it is easy to eliminate the seasons that the Hurricanes missed the playoffs. When the Hurricanes do manage to punch their ticket to the postseason, they usually make very deep runs.
A decade ago, the Hurricanes made the playoffs for the 2008-09 season. They routed the Boston Bruins and the New Jersey Devils in thrilling Game 7s in both series. Eric Staal led the team with a commanding 40 goals, and Cam Ward offered above-average goaltending. The scoring is comparable to the 2018-19 season, when it comes to the playoffs despite the extra three games.
Cam Ward and Justin Peters were the best duo for the 2011-12 regular season in save percentage. This was arguably the best year for Carolina Hurricanes goaltending. Ward put up .915% in 68 games, as Peters put up .931% in 7 games. Ultimately, the Hurricanes missed the playoffs with a blunder in Brian Boucher.
The first time the Hurricanes made the Stanley Cup Finals in franchise history, they had a successful regular season and good playoff run that couldn’t go all the way. The 2001-02 season saw the Hurricanes finish 1st in the division and 3rd in the Eastern Conference.
Hall of Famer Ron Francis led the team in points as captain, in both the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs. Arturs Irbe and Kevin Weekes had arguably the best Hurricanes goalie performances in Stanley Cup Playoff history. Irbe had a .938% in 18 playoff games, with Weekes having a .939% in 8 playoff games.
In a season where they consistently held a reputation of being a good team, the Carolina Hurricanes won the Southeast Division in 2005-06, and ultimately got 2nd in the Eastern Conference. For the first time in Carolina Hurricanes franchise history, Eric Staal hit 100 points and still is the only player to do this as a Cane.
Although the goaltending wasn’t spectacular for the Carolina Hurricanes in the regular season, it was satisfactory enough for the Hurricanes to hang on and win pivotal games. Martin Gerber held the fort with a .906% in 60 games and Cam Ward shined after the Gerber slipped in the playoffs, as Ward finished the playoffs winning the Conn Smythe Trophy and boasted a .920% save percentage in 23 playoff games.
It is undeniable that the 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes had the best lineup, with captain Rod Brind’Amour, a young Justin Williams, Erik Cole, recently retired Matt Cullen, and defensively solid Mike Commodore. Peter Laviolette proved to be a great coach as well; he coached the Carolina Hurricanes into a consistent regular season team that ended up winning the Stanley Cup; the first and only one in Carolina Hurricanes’ history.
Question for Cardiac Cane Readers: Can the 2019-2020 Carolina Hurricanes top the 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes lineup?