Congratulations to Cody for putting together the best roster in our 2020 Canes Country Ultimate Fantasy Draft, as voted by more than half of those who took our poll last Friday. Of course, having the first pick made things somewhat easier. Not saying, just saying.
A few more thoughts on the process and the draft:
- The history of the Hurricanes can be split into five major segments: the Greensboro years, the pre-lockout Raleigh years, the 2006-09 run of (relative) success, the lost near-decade, and the renaissance that began in 2018. It’s not really a surprise that most of the players drafted came prior to 2009, with a few - Wesley, Brind’Amour, Staal and Wallin, to name four - crossing over into multiple segments.
- The back end of the lost decade is fascinating. It’s actually remarkably well-represented given the relative lack of success: Aho, Slavin, Teravainen and Pesce have all been with the team for at least four years now. It’s fair to say that with a better team around them, the Hurricanes would have pulled themselves out of the muck much sooner.
- That said, even though the most recent time frame is the shortest, it’s surprisingly well-represented as well, with Hamilton, Svechnikov, Mrazek and Brind’Amour the coach making the cut.
Breaking it down by era, we have this:
- Greensboro (8): Keith Primeau, Arturs Irbe, Ron Francis, Paul Maurice, Glen Wesley, Jeff O’Neill, Sami Kapanen, Sean Hill
- Pre-lockout (11) : Irbe, Francis, Maurice, Kapanen, Wesley, O’Neill, Hill, Rod Brind’Amour (player), Niclas Wallin, Kevin Weekes, Erik Cole, Bret Hedican
- 2006-09 (17): Wesley, Brind’Amour, Wallin, Cole, Hedican, Eric Staal, Peter Laviolette, Cory Stillman, Ray Whitney, Martin Gerber, Justin Williams, Tim Gleason, Chad LaRose, Joni Pitkanen, Jussi Jokinen, Cam Ward, Tuomo Ruutu
- Early lost years (2010-2014) (12): Maurice, E. Staal, Gleason, LaRose, Pitkanen, Jokinen, Ward, Ruutu, Jordan Staal, Sergei Samsonov, Jeff Skinner, Justin Faulk
- Late lost years (2014-2018) (11): E. Staal, Ward, J. Staal, Skinner, Faulk, Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, Elias Lindholm
- Renaissance (10): J. Staal, Aho, Teravainen, Slavin, Pesce, Williams, Brind’Amour (coach), Dougie Hamilton, Andrei Svechnikov, Petr Mrazek
It’s interesting that, outside of the 2006-09 run of success, the largest grouping of players on our rosters was from the early years of the 2010s. There were plenty of good players on those teams, but the issue was further down the lineup, where the likes of Derek Joslin, Andreas Nodl, Drayson Bowman and Jamie McBain plied their trades. Pretty much every player on those teams was overslotted to some extent, and it shows. Jordan Staal and Justin Faulk were the only two players to get out of those years and still contribute to some extent in the latter part of the decade.
There were a few names that we were somewhat surprised to not hear called:
- Matt Cullen: Another ‘06er was the next man up on a few lists. He would have gone in a hypothetical ninth round.
- Josef Vasicek: The Czech Condor was actually the Canes’ leading scorer in the execrable 2003-04 season, with a whopping 19 goals and 45 points. (Any wonder why the Hurricanes missed the playoffs by 15 points?)
- Bates Battaglia: His fame as a Hurricane came mostly as a result of the BBC Line’s lightning in a bottle run through the 2002 playoffs, but he was productive in other years as well. In the early days, Battaglia and his flowing hair made him instantly recognizable.
- Gary Roberts: The Hurricanes have long been interested in reclamation projects, and Roberts was one of the earliest, coming over from Calgary in the 1997 offseason following a serious neck injury that had seen him miss more than a full year of action. Even before Brind’Amour made the Canes’ weight room legendary, Roberts’ work ethic set the standard for the Canes to follow.
- Martin Gelinas: The scorer of one of the most famous goals in franchise history, the overtime tally to send the Canes to the 2002 Stanley Cup Final, Gelinas flew under the radar in five seasons with Carolina. A third-line staple, Gelinas was remarkably consistent, scoring between 12 and 14 goals three times, plus a high-water mark of 23 in the 2000-01 season.
We hope you enjoyed the series! If you have any ideas for future fantasy drafts, please share them in the comments - we’d love to make this a regular feature.