We’ve reached the final two rounds of the first-ever Canes Country Ultimate Fantasy Draft, and the final 10 players will be selected today. Tomorrow, you’ll get the chance to decide who built the best team by voting in our poll, with a grand prize of...um (checks notes) absolutely nothing at stake.
We really had a great time doing this draft, and it probably won’t be the last one we do. If you have any ideas for future drafts you’d like to see, drop them in the comments! Now that we know for sure we won’t be playing hockey until at least early August, we have nothing but time and Zoom schedules in our way.
If you need a reminder of the rules, check the top of Monday’s post. Here are how the teams stack up after Day 2:
- Cody: Rod Brind’Amour, C; Jaccob Slavin, D; Erik Cole, W; Martin Gerber, G; Andrei Svechnikov, W; Paul Maurice, coach
- Brian: Peter Laviolette, coach; Sebastian Aho, C; Teuvo Teravainen, W; Petr Mrazek, G; Brett Pesce, D; Cory Stillman, W
- Ryan: Ron Francis, C; Dougie Hamilton, D; Sami Kapanen, W; Niclas Wallin, D; Justin Williams, W; Tuomo Ruutu, WC
- Alec: Eric Staal, C; Glen Wesley, D; Jeff O’Neill, W; Arturs Irbe, G; Bret Hedican, D; Rod Brind’Amour, coach
- Andrew: Cam Ward, G; Jeff Skinner, W; Jordan Staal, C; Justin Faulk, D; Ray Whitney, W; Joni Pitkanen, D
Cody: Tim Gleason
If there is one memory of Tim Gleason that defines his time with the Hurricanes, it was the game where he took a puck to the face and came back to score later, while wearing a face shield and all bruised up. Gleason was known as a bear because he was as tough as they come. He was an Olympian in 2010 and an alternate captain for multiple years. Paired with Slavin, I now have both a stay at home defenseman who can rough up anyone, and the all-around best defender in Canes history. Not too shabby.
Brian: Sean Hill
He’s probably better as a second-pairing defenseman than as the second banana on the top pairing, but I think time has made people forget just how good Hill was. He was a workhorse, a poor man’s Slavin who averaged almost 24 minutes a game during his six seasons with the Hurricanes. On some truly decrepit Carolina defenses, Hill finished in plus territory four times – and the two times he didn’t he was minus-1 and minus-2 – and he even snagged a fourth-place vote for the Norris Trophy in 2000. No one counted on him to score goals, but he was quietly effective on the power play, where he scored four times in the 2002 playoffs while playing an average of 25:55 a night.
Ryan: Kevin Weekes
Shady-80, baby. Weekes was a Hurricane for a short spell, but he made quite a number of memorable saves as he helped carry the team to the Stanley Cup Final in the 2002 playoffs alongside Arturs Irbe, taking on about half of the New Jersey Devils and Montreal Canadiens series. However, let’s be real for a moment. Carolina has never really had an elite goaltender, so when it comes down to it they all kind of have similar ups and downs. The gaps between the better ones I feel don’t make or break a team, though certain ones can certainly break a team. Weekes certainly wasn’t a bad one and this is more of a dig at the other guys’ teams that have goalies with longer Hurricanes tenures than anything else.
Alec: Elias Lindholm
Finishing up my forward line I decided to go with Elias Lindholm, who did have a few really solid years in Carolina. Lindholm is a solid passer. He had 124 assists over five seasons with the Canes, so pairing him with Staal and O’Neill would lead to a pretty productive line.
Andrew: Rick Ley
I had no interest in either Hurricanes head coach still available to me. Brian said we could use Whalers coaches, but none of their records inspired much confidence. Ley has 69 career wins, so he’s my pick.
Andrew: Jussi Jokinen
I wanted some versatility with my wild card, and Jokinen offers that (my use of versatility immediately led Ryan to Derek Joslin, so I’m using that as an excuse to mention Derek Joslin. Carry on). Jokinen played all three forward positions with the Hurricanes, and was skilled as both a playmaker and goalscorer (the chemistry he had with Skinner in his first two years is a bonus). I like the idea of being able to sub Staal out for Jokinen late in a game (and I’d definitely do it for power plays) if I need a little more offense, and a trio of Jokinen (who was also pretty good in the faceoff circle), Whitney and Skinner has a lot to offer in terms of creativity. It also gives me the chance of reuniting Jokinen with Pitkanen, and hoping they recreate their cross-ice, backdoor play from game seven of the 2009 first round. And, if the game goes to a shootout, there’s no one in Hurricanes history I’d rather have in my lineup.
Alec: Chad LaRose
Yeah, this was kind of a panic pick after Andrew took Jokinen, who I was planning on grabbing here. I guess I got a pretty gritty guy in LaRose to come off the bench if someone was making trouble. Matt Cullen would’ve been a better pick here. I also maybe should have considered Martin Necas if drafting on what I think he can become (and because I hate not having anyone on the current iteration of the Hurricanes). I also did consider taking Stormy here.
Ryan: Pierre McGuire
Two things to be clear. One, Brian allowed us the option to select a coach from the Whalers and two, I 100% did it for the memes. I certainly had no idea Pierre McGuire used to be a coach in this franchise’s history and, upon learning that, I knew I wanted him. I felt that the team had enough leadership on the ice to carry it through just about anything, so really, I felt that this was a no harm at all kind of pick. And, as a bonus, just think about how much we can learn about the guys’ middle school lunch ladies and where they played every level of youth hockey. It was the perfect pick.
Brian: Keith Primeau
For me, this pick came down to either Primeau or Matt Cullen as my wild card. Cullen had the longevity, not to mention the Stanley Cup ring, but Primeau’s time in Carolina gets clouded by the infamous holdout that led to him being swapped one-for-one for Brind’Amour in January 2000. He was only here for two seasons, and never played in Raleigh (probably another reason he’s often overlooked) but finished with 125 points in 159 games with the Hurricanes, and scoring at nearly a point-per-game clip over two seasons at the nadir of the Dead Puck Era (on a Paul Maurice team, no less!) is a stat that can’t be handwaved away. Would he be a number-one center on a Stanley Cup contender? Probably not, but he’s a darned good number-two, and a worthy addition in my wild card spot.
Cody: Sergei Samsonov
After Brian got Primeau one pick before this, I had to scramble to find a good pick to close out the draft. I fought off urges to take Bates Battaglia to bring back the BBC line when my extra player was called upon, and went for a guy who can get up and down the ice quickly while adding a scoring touch. Samsonov had 135 points over 249 games with the Hurricanes including a good showing during the 2009 playoffs making him a quality utility player to be used as needed.