This season the Carolina Hurricanes will be celebrating their 25th anniversary of being in North Carolina. The team has had a very up and down history to say the least, but through that time, they’ve had some spectacular players come through the organization.
In this series, we’ll be looking at the best players at every position to fill out a lineup of the best Hurricanes players over the team’s 25 year history. Players qualify for this list based on the position they’re listed as on NHL.com. This list is based on overall impact, so attributes like big moments and longevity will be prioritized for this list.
Cory Stillman joined the Hurricanes in 2005 fresh off of a Stanley Cup win as a member of the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning. His 26 points in 25 games helped fuel the Canes to their 2006 Cup victory. Cory stayed around with the team until he was traded to Ottawa at the 2008 trade deadline. Stillman was traded back to the Hurricanes at the 2011 trade deadline and played 21 games with the club before retiring from NHL action.
Stillman posted 165 points in 191 regular season games as a member of the Canes, and his 0.86 PPG is one of the highest among Canes left wingers. He misses this list solely because he just wasn’t with the Canes long enough. Stillman still has an important place in Canes history evident by his name forever being etched on the Stanley Cup.
“The Juice”, Jussi Jokinen, spent 288 regular season games with the team and is responsible for one of the most iconic moments in franchise history. Picked up at the 2009 trade deadline, Jokinen was huge in the team’s run to the conference final that year. Jokinen famously scored the latest game-winning goal in NHL playoffs history after he got one past the New Jersey Devils with just 0.2 seconds remaining in Game four. He added two more game winners that playoff run, including an OT goal versus Boston in Game three.
Jokinen spent the next three-and-a-half seasons with the Hurricanes before being traded to the Penguins at the 2013 trade deadline. Including a career season with 65 points in 2009-10, Jokinen finished his Canes career with 185 points and numerous electrifying moments.
LW4: Erik Cole
In Erik Cole’s rookie season he made an instant impact as a member of the “BBC” line alongside Bates Battaglia and Rod Brind’amour. During that 2001-02 season, he and the Hurricanes made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. Although they lost in five games to the powerhouse Detroit Red Wings, it was still an incredible underdog run that Erik Cole got to be apart of.
Erik Cole was a member of the 2005-06 championship team, scoring at nearly a point per game pace until he had his neck broken on an infamous hit from Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik. Cole managed to make his return that season in Game six of the Stanley Cup Finals against Edmonton. Cole was able to lift the cup and celebrate with his teammates.
Cole was traded to the Oilers during the 2008 offseason, only to be re-acquired by the Canes at the 2009 trade deadline for a second tour of duty with the team. He was a huge part in the Canes making yet another deep run in the 2009 playoffs. Cole left the team in 2011 in free agency and played until 2014. Erik signed a 1-day contract to retire as a Canes in 2017.
The power forward was a unique mix of size and skill that would have translated perfectly into the modern game. Cole recorded 363 points in 557 games across his nine seasons with the team and will go down as one of the most beloved players in franchise history.
LW3: Ray Whitney
Ray Whitney signed a two-year contract with the Canes during the summer of 2005 and proved to be possibly the best of their offseason moves. The move paid off obviously, as it made Ray Whitney a Stanley Cup champion and gave the Canes a crucial part of their championship offense.
Ray’s best season as a Hurricanes was in 2006-07, where he led the team in scoring with 83 points in 81 games. His 77 points in 82 games in 2008-09 helped fuel the Hurricanes to another playoff appearance after a slight Stanley Cup hangover.
Whitney’s nickname was “the wizard”, and for good reason. He had a unique ability to make plays out of nothing and before you knew it, he was making a highlight reel pass to his line mate. The organization has never seen a passer quite like Whitney.
Whitney leads all LWs in power play points (145), overtime goals (five), and is tied with Sebastian Aho for the highest points per game in franchise history (0.90). Safe to say Whitney’s offensive impact left a mark on the history of the franchise.
The only knock is he didn’t play enough with the team, but over those five years he saw a lot of success. He was apart of a Stanley Cup run in 2006 and a run to the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals, and put up 334 points in 372 games. The Wizard will always have a special place in Hurricanes history.
LW2: Jeff Skinner
One of the longest tenured Hurricanes, Jeff Skinner had a very up and down career in Raleigh. Over his 500+ game career with the Hurricanes, Skinner recorded 204 goals, which ranks 2nd in franchise history. Jeff got off to a hot start, with 63 points in his rookie year, which was good enough to earn him the 2011 Calder trophy.
However Skinner was never able to eclipse that, coming close in 2016-17 when he matched his 2010-11 point total. None for his goal-scoring ability Skinner scored 20+ goals in six seasons and 30+ in three seasons. Concussions slowed Skinner down in multiple seasons and likely hurt his overall impact on the team.
Jeff Skinner had a unique skill set as his figure skating ability background allowed him to be extremely creative in the offensive zone. Being a smaller guy let him create space and give himself more room to unleash his wicked shot.
Skinner has a STRONG argument for the best left winger in franchise history and no matter what, he will go down as one of the most electric players in franchise history.
LW1: Teuvo Teravainen
Acquired by the Hurricanes from the Blackhawks in 2016 alongside Bryan Bickell, Teuvo Teravinen made an instant impact with the team, putting up 42 points in just his 1st season with team. Teravainen has developed undeniable chemistry with star center Sebastian Aho, and the two have only gotten better over the years.
Teuvo has been just under a point per game, including last season where Teuvo had 65 points in 77 games. Teravinen is best known for his playmaking ability, which has gone hand-in-hand with the team’s offense continuing to develop.
Teravinen is great at all facets of the game, being a very steady winger defensively as well as a dynamic offensive player. Teuvo kills penalties and is a key component in the power play year after year. Teuvo has been rather consistent in the playoffs as well. He led the team in scoring on this past playoff run with 11 points in 14 games.
Teuvo signed a five-year extension in 2019 and will remain a Hurricane until the end of the 2023-24 season. Teravinen has at least two more seasons as a Hurricane and he is already 10th in points as a Hurricane with 325. It is realistic to think that he could leapfrog all the way to 4th this season, a mark that is currently held by Jeff Skinner with 379 points.
Whether he is with the team past 2024 or not, he has played a big part in the most successful time period in the team’s history and will go down as the best left winger in the franchise’s history. Although there is some debate on if he’s there already or not, it is my belief that by the time his tenure in Raleigh is done, it won’t even be close.