We’re writing this piece for all the “Caniacs” that are already jonesing for hockey in August. What’s more fun than creating a list of the five best players in franchise history? Watching the Carolina Hurricanes move up Stanley Cup odds boards at sports betting apps including DraftKings and FanDuel.
That’s exactly what the Canes have done this offseason, cracking the top five betting choices with +1000 odds at both of the aforementioned books. Carolina recently made two key offseason additions in winger Max Pacioretty (from Las Vegas) and defenseman Brent Burns (from San Jose). That aided its ascension up the odds boards.
Without further adieu, here are the top five players in the history of the Carolina Hurricanes.
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Top 5 Carolina Hurricanes
1. Ron Francis (Center)
NHL Hall of Famer Ron Francis was a first-round draft pick for the Hartford Whalers, who later became the Carolina Hurricanes. Francis was an absolute “baller” if that makes any sense in describing a hockey player.
Francis was Carolina’s all-time leader in nearly every offensive category when he entered the NHL Hall of Fame in 2007:
- Goals (382)
- Assists (793)
- Points (1,175)
- Power-play goals (132)
He also ranked first in franchise history by playing in 1,186 regular-season games. His No. 10 jersey was retired by the Hurricanes. It now swings from the rafters at PNC Arena in Raleigh. Francis also won a pair of Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early 1990s.
2. Rod Brind’Amour (Center)
Rod Brind’Amour’s involvement with the Carolina Hurricanes continues these days as head coach. As a player, Brind’Amour was a physical presence and captain for the Canes when they won the Stanley Cup in 2006. He led the team with 12 playoff goals that year as the only Cane to tally in double digits.
Brind’Amour is remembered for unceremoniously taking the Cup from the hands of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (check the 2:25 minute mark and ensuing celebration here if you want some serious goosebumps).
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3. Eric Staal (Center)
Staal spent 12 of his 19 seasons playing in Carolina. Staal’s career year came during the 2005-06 season which saw the Ontario sniper register 45 goals and 100 points. Oh and yeah, the Hurricanes won their first (and only) Stanley Cup in franchise history that season.
Staal ended his career in Montreal after the 2020-21 season. He scored 441 goals and amassed more than 1,000 points in a distinguished NHL career.
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4. Erik Cole (Left Wing)
Cole was the rare American player who attended college and developed as a player at Clarkson University in upstate New York. It’s not as rare these days, but it was in the late 1990s when Cole went back to college after being drafted in the 1998 NHL Draft.
Cole was a physical presence near the opponent’s goal crease. He wasn’t afraid to drop the gloves, either, during a time when the NHL more or less welcomed fighting as part of the game.
Cole ended his career with 265 goals, 532 points, and 659 penalty minutes. He was a member of the 2005-06 Stanley Cup championship team in Carolina, too. He signed a ceremonial contract with the Hurricanes before retiring in 2017.
5. Glen Wesley (Defenseman)
Wesley was a guiding presence along the blue line for the Canes during the Stanley Cup championship season in 2006. He also patrolled the point in 2002 when Carolina lost in the Stanley Cup Final against the Detroit Red Wings.
Wesley has the distinction of being the only player to play in all of Carolina’s first 10 seasons in Raleigh. The franchise moved from Hartford to Raleigh for the inaugural 1997-98 season.
Wesley became the second Carolina player to have his jersey retired in 2009. The No. 2 will not be worn by a Carolina player in the future.
AP Photo/Gerry Broome