So far, the ground rules have been fairly straightforward as far as what gets you on any of these hypothetical teams. This time, I feel the need to point out that (for my purposes) it doesn’t matter if we were buyers or sellers. Whether we were buying (for the near future) or selling (for subsequent seasons), that’s all that really matters here. I'll make exactly one exception, just because it's fun to talk about. Otherwise, those are the rules for our fanciful thoughts here.
And now, your 20th Anniversary Carolina Hurricanes Trade Deadline Team
Center/Centre: Doug Weight (from the St. Louis Blues)
Winger: Mark Recchi (from the Pittsburgh Penguins)
I’m lumping these two together since they were the Big Moves we made the year we won it all. If you wanna be a stickler about how far ahead of the deadline Doug Weight showed up, I can’t stop you. It’s probably being a little pedantic about a hypothetical team, but it’s a free country. Besides, I provide a decent backup choice in the Honorable/Honourable Mentions.
Also, two things about their respective photos: Man, does Recchi's photo look like it was taken inn the 19th century or what? And dare I say Weight's photo looks more than a little like he's Phil Kessel's older cousin?
Winger: Justin Williams (from the Philadelphia Flyers)
Y’know, he’s been showing up a LOT on these lists. It’s like the guy always knows where to be when it matters.
Also uniquely, he technically was the only guy I picked that came from a trade where we were sellers. As much as I loved Danny Markov in his brief time here, I think it’s fair to say we won this trade.
Defenseman/Defenceman: Bret Hedican (from the Florida Panthers)
"Mr. Yamaguchi" was always one of my favorites. Never that flashy, just very good at knowing where to be and when to be there.
I remember fairly early in his time here doing an interview with "Chopper" Harrison (RIP) on 96 Rock where they discussed who was the better skater in the family, and he claimed that title. I'd recall the rest of his answer, but I'm not it was FCC-compliant even back then.
Goalie: Kevin Weekes (from the Tampa Bay Lightning)
All respect due to Patrick DesRochers, this might’ve been one of the easiest choices in any of these essays. Whichever side you may’ve taken in the goaltending controversies that sometimes happened in his time here, you gotta give him credit for being good enough to deserve a place in said controversies.
Always felt like he never got a fair shake here, not sure why that is. I could make a guess.
Centre/Center: Kevyn Adams (from the Florida Panthers)
Adams arrived with Hedican in the same deadline deal to help get us to the '02 Final. It's fair to say that these two guys worked out pretty well for us.
If you want to swap out this half of the Adams Family for Doug Weight, you’re not necessarily wrong. Adams did play WAY more games for the team (300-23, per hockeydb.com, not counting playoffs).
I made this joke elsewhere, but I went to several games during the epically low scoring ’03/’04 season where he more consistently generated offense on the penalty kill than the actual power play unit. Compare his top-five finish in the league in shorthanded goals to the TEAM percentage a man up and you’ll see I’m only moderately cartoony with my point.
And if you want to play "who had the better signature moment during the ’06 Cup Run" I’d think it was pretty much a wash between a separated shoulder and a broken wrist. To be fair, I’ve had neither of those occur to me. I’d gladly defer to anyone with actual insight here.
Winger: Erik Cole (from the Edmonton Oilers)
Probably the best power forward the Hurricanes have had in their history? Probably. As he learned from guys like Gary Roberts, so did Erik teach young players like Eric Staal and and Jeff Skinner about being an NHL player. It’s not necessarily a stylistic lesson (I doubt many people would confuse Roberts’ playing style with Skinner’s, though Cole is probably near the exact middle between them), but those two have cited Cole being very helpful to their growth as a player here.
I know there's other parts of his time here that are less fun to contemplate. I do wish we'd kept him (again) after the '10/11 season, but I'll rarely blame a player for taking what the market gives him. Hindsight being 20/20, no, he didn't look great by the end of that contract. Jim Rutherford was right that the four years Cole wanted was a year too long. And his style of play was not one that ages particularly well.
But as much as sentimentality has hurt this franchise's decision-making process at times, I do wonder if Cole staying here could've helped ameliorate at least some of the malaise that set in during subsequent seasons.
Winger: Alex Ponikarovsky (to the New Jersey Devils--yes, I know that's not how this works)
I'm really only mentioning him here to remind everyone of this. Is it too early to think this might be the more important move we made in Pittsburgh that weekend? It's easy to see how it helped the home team win back-to-back Cups, but that draft looks pretty darn good for the Hurricanes too.