Ranking the Best Carolina Hurricanes of All-Time

The Carolina Hurricanes have endeared themselves to locals as the steadiest pro sports franchise in the state. 

The Raleigh-based NHL franchise remains the lone pro team in the state to capture a championship. The Hurricanes captured the hearts and imaginations of the fans with their 2006 Stanley Cup title run, capped off by defeating the Edmonton Oilers in seven games. 

Since transitioning from the prior incarnation of the Hartford Whalers into the modern-day Hurricanes in 1997, they’ve won the Eastern Conference twice along with six division titles. 

Last season, the Hurricanes finished with a 52-21 record (113 points) and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. 

North Carolina sports betting is expected to launch in March 2024 and the Hurricanes will be a popular option at sportsbooks among North Carolina residents. In addition, Hurricanes fans looking forward to sports betting should check out the North Carolina Betting Promos to make the most of their wagers.

The Hurricanes have been blessed with some excellent players who have made major contributions to their success. 

Let’s rank the top five Hurricanes of all time. 

5. D Glen Wesley (1994-2003, 2003-08)

You can’t tell the story of the Carolina Hurricanes without legendary defenseman Glen Wesley. 

The Whalers acquired Wesley in the 1994 offseason for three first-round picks and his leadership proved to be immense. 

The Alberta, Canada native played 13 seasons for the Whalers/Hurricanes and his No. 2 hangs from the rafters at PNC Arena. 

Wesley’s defensive presence played a key role in the Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup title. During his day hosting the Stanley Cup trophy, Wesley brought it to Camp Lejeune. 

Much of Wesley’s impact wasn’t contained in a box score. However, Wesley ranks 19th in power-play goals on-ice against and 35th in overall goals on-ice against. 

4. F Sebastian Aho (2016-current)

The 26-year-old from Finland is one of the most dynamic forwards in the league, earning his third All-Star selection this season. 

The Hurricanes selected Aho with the No. 35 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and he’s rewarded the franchise with brilliance. 

Aho sits atop the Hurricanes’ all-time list for short-handed goals. Aho also ranks fourth all-time for the Hurricanes in goals and points, and fifth in assists. 

Aho flashed his potential on Jan. 31, 2017, against the Philadelphia Flyers as the youngest player in franchise history to record a hat trick. Aho (7) is tied for third all-time in hat tricks for the Hurricanes along with Blaine Stoughton. 

Aho was the first star for the Monthly Three Stars in April 2021. 

Perhaps most importantly, Aho has proven to be extremely clutch. The forward has a knack for finding the net at crucial moments, as he’s second in franchise history in game-winning goals. 

Aho is an integral cornerstone as the Hurricanes strive for a second Stanley Cup title. 

3. C Rod Brind’Amour (1999-2004, 2005-10)

As both a coach and a player, Rod Brind’Amour is one of the most influential figures in franchise history. 

Brind’Amour has certainly made his mark as the current coach of the Hurricanes, guiding the club to the conference finals twice and the postseason every year since taking over in 2018-19. 

Before that, Brind’Amour being traded from the Flyers to the Hurricanes in the 1999-00 season was a turning point for the franchise. 

His claim to fame is being Carolina’s captain for the 2006 Stanley Cup title. Brind’Amour’s gutsy leadership was backed up with stellar play. During that magical postseason run, the center finished with a team-high 12 goals. 

Brind’Amour was also a key cog when Carolina captured the Eastern Conference title for the first time in 2002.  

Brind’Amour ended his career third in assists, fourth in short-handed goals, fifth in points, and sixth in games played for the Hurricanes. 

Brind’Amour’s No. 17 was retired on Feb. 18, 2011, making him the third player to earn the honor since the franchise moved to Raleigh. 

2. C Eric Staal (2003-04, 2005-16)

Eric Staal is bound to have his No. 12 retired whenever the extraordinary center decides to hang up his skates. 

The Hurricanes tabbed Staal as the No. 2 pick in the 2003 NHL Draft and he lived up to the billing.

The decorated Staal is in exclusive company as a member of the Trip Gold Club. The Ontario, Canada native is a Stanley Cup champion (2006) and earned gold medals at the 2007 World Championships and 2010 Winter Olympics. 

Staal was the MVP of the 2008 NHL All-Star Game. He was designated as the Hurricanes’ captain on Jan. 20, 2010. Staal was also one of the captains for the 2011 NHL All-Star Game held in Raleigh

Having played a dozen seasons with the Hurricanes, Staal is near the top of Carolina’s record books in a wide number of categories. 

Staal is first in hat tricks, as well as second in goals, power-play goals, short-handed goals, assists, and points. Staal is also third in games played and game-winning goals. 

Eric led the Hurricanes in points (29) and was tied for second in goals during the postseason run to the Stanley Cup title. The stable Staal registered at least 70 points every season from 2005-12. 

Staal left an indelible impression in Raleigh with his offensive exploits and electric ability on the ice. 

1.C Ron Francis (1981-1991, 1998-2004)

Ron Francis isn’t merely a franchise icon. He’s one of the greatest hockey players, period. That made it an easy choice to place Francis at the top of this list. 

The Whalers drafted Francis with the No. 4 pick in 1981, the beginning of an epic career that would conclude in the Hall of Fame. 

Francis is the clear-cut superstar who bridges the Whalers’ era into the modern-day Hurricanes. 

During nearly a decade with the Whalers, Francis was a captain for six years and etched his name into many of the club’s offensive record books. 

When Francis returned as a member of the Hurricanes in 1998-99, he brought a steadying presence to a franchise that was still in its infancy. Francis recorded 16 points, 10 assists, and six goals (four power play) during the 2002 postseason march through the Eastern Conference. 

When Francis retired in 2004, he ranked second in league history in assists behind only Wayne Gretzky, while also being third in games played, fifth in points, and 27th in goals. 

Francis is the Whalers/Hurricanes’ all-time leader in games played, goals, game-winning goals,  assists, and points. He was selected to the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players list, which was compiled during the 2017-18 season. 

Not only was Francis a breathtaking hockey player but he was a pillar of professionalism. This is cemented by his three Lady Byng trophies, bestowed to an athlete who has the combination of gentlemanly conduct and a high standard of playing ability. 

Francis’ No. 10 is rightfully retired by the Hurricanes. He went on to serve in the franchise's front office before his current role as the general manager of the Seattle Kraken.

Fanatics Sportsbook North Carolina will be launching on March 11th, thanks to their partnership with the Carolina Hurricanes. Check out our review and get ready for the launch of North Carolina sports betting!