3: Eric Staal
Eric Staal had big shoes to fill when he took over the captain position from Hurricanes legend Rod Brind’Amour in the 2009-2010 season . And over the course of his 6 full seasons as team captain he did a good job.
Staal tended to be a bright spot during a long dark period for the Hurricanes. He already had been with the Hurricanes since the 2003-2004 season when he was drafted 2nd overall in the 2003 NHL entry draft. So he had a deep connection with them when he became the leader of the team. Loved for his high level of play, versatility, and durability. That connection he had with the fans only grew over the years.
Towards the end of his long tenure with the Hurricanes, his production did however begin to slip. Beginning in the 2012-2013 season his numbers began to decline. And minus a brief increase in production in the 2013-2014 season, the slide continued. Eventually leading to him being traded to the New York Rangers two days before the trade deadline in the 2015-2016 season.
His time in the Big Apple wasn’t long though. As he found himself with the Minnesota Wild the next season. Where he has seemingly found his game again.
Though his production on the ice wasn’t what it once was at the end of his time in Raleigh, Eric Staal was still loved by the fans. And he his still loved by the Caniac Nation today. Some of which want to see him don the red and black again one day.
Now, a player who has his number hanging in the rafters of PNC Arena.