Over the past 20 years, the Carolina Hurricanes have provided plenty of memories. From the good — the Stanley Cup triumph in 2006, Jussi Jokinen and Eric Staal stunning the Devils in Game 7 of the 2009 quarterfinals — to the bad — the last-day loss to the Panthers that knocked the Canes out of a playoff spot in 2008— to the simply bizarre — Stormy nearly suffocating inside a Zamboni in the 1997 preseason — it has been an eventful 20 years, to say the least.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Canes’ move to North Carolina, Canes Country will be unveiling our list of the Top 20 At 20: the 20 players who defined the Carolina Hurricanes in the past two decades. It's simple: we polled the Canes Country staff and readers, and the ranks that follow are a weighted average of those polls, ranked from 20 to number one. We'll reveal five per day for the next four days, culminating in number one on Wednesday.
We hope you enjoy our trip down memory lane!
20. Jordan Staal
Years with Canes: 2012-present
Scoring totals: 62 goals, 111 assists, 173 points in 304 games
How acquired: From Pittsburgh for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin, 1st round pick on 6/22/12
Once pigeonholed into a third-line spot in Pittsburgh that would forever be in the shadow of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the younger Staal was traded to the Canes to provide a one-two punch down the middle with his older brother Eric. In his five seasons with the Canes he has become a key two-way player and one of the league's top faceoff men, and since the departure of his brother he has taken on additional responsibilities. Staal is the glue that holds the current edition of the Hurricanes together; when he is out, as we learned earlier this season, the Canes aren't nearly the same team. - Brian LeBlanc
19. Tim Gleason
Years with Canes: 2006-2013, 2014-2015
Scoring totals: 14 goals, 93 assists, 107 points in 546 games
How acquired: Traded from Los Angeles with Eric Belanger for Oleg Tverdovsky and Jack Johnson on 9/29/06. Signed a one-year free agent contract on July 3rd, 2014.
Tim Gleason spent the majority of his NHL career in a Hurricanes uniform and is one of the best defensemen to don the red and black. Known early in his career for his toughness and willingness to stand up for his teammates by fighting or any other means, Gleason was named an alternate captain in 2010. He played a key role in the 2009 playoff run and even went on to represent the United States in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. After being traded to Toronto, Gleason decided to return to the Hurricanes the following season where he returned to his physical nature of play. Gleason is no longer playing in the NHL but is seen around the Hurricanes organization on occasion, serving as a volunteer mentor for the team with no contractual obligations. - Cody Hagan
18. Bret Hedican
Years with Canes: 2002-2008
Scoring totals: 19 goals, 82 assists, 101 points in 369 games
How acquired: From Florida with Kevyn Adams, Tomas Malec, conditional draft pick for Sandis Ozolinsh, Byron Ritchie on 1/16/02
Hedican played an integral role for the Hurricanes in both of their runs to the Stanley Cup Final. From the day he was added in a deadline deal until the day he left for in 2008, the St. Paul, Minnesota native was a steady defenseman with fantastic skating ability and confidence on both sides of the ice, playing top-four minutes for a majority of his time with the organization. On top of his even strength responsibilities, Hedican was a top-line penalty killer during Carolina’s Cup run in 2006 and saw occasional powerplay time. - Brett Finger
17. Tuomo Ruutu
Years with Canes: 2008-2014
Scoring totals: 90 goals, 126 assists, 216 points in 378 games
How acquired: From Chicago for Andrew Ladd on 2/26/2008
Ruutu arrived in Raleigh in a trade deadline swap of former first round draft selections when he was picked up in exchange for former fourth overall pick Andrew Ladd. He endeared himself to Canes fans with his straight-line style and willingness to throw his body around, dealing out 1273 hits over the course of seven seasons in a Hurricanes jersey. His best season with the Canes was in 2008-09 were he scored 26 and added 28 assists, while being a crucial part of the group that delivered Carolina's last playoff birth. Along with Jussi Jokinen and Joni Pitkanen, he was a part of the trio that started Carolina fans love affair with Finnish players that has carried over to current Canes Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho. - Kevin LeBlanc
16. Jussi Jokinen
Years with Canes: 2009-2013
Scoring totals: 68 goals, 117 assists, 185 points in 288 games
How Acquired: From Tampa Bay in exchange for Wade Brookbank, Josef Melichar, and Future Considerations on 2/7/09
Jokinen will forever be remembered for his late-game heroics in what remains the Hurricanes’ most recent playoff run. He also provided a depth scoring punch that was a big part of the team’s better runs of play in his time in Raleigh, where he became so much more than just a shootout specialist. In addition, he made Jeff Skinner’s transition into the NHL much easier by being the rookie’s primary set-up man on the “Finns and Skins” line in 2010-2011. Jokinen’s career continues to be a successful one to this day as he is a key member of the Florida Panthers. - Kyle Morton