Last Word On Hockey brings our Team of the Decade series. We will dive into the best player at each position this decade for every organization. The biggest and best at each position, with the most memorable moments of the decade. Here is the Carolina Hurricanes Team of the Decade lineup.
Carolina Hurricanes Decade Team
While the 2010s have largely been a decade to forget for the Hurricanes, they seem to be on the upward swing now after an Eastern Conference Final appearance last season. However, that was Carolina’s only playoff appearance in the entire decade. They only broke the 90-point barrier twice, including last season. However, they’ve still had decent amounts of talent come in and out throughout the decade, and that’s evidenced by the following breakdown.
Here are our picks at each position for the most impactful Hurricane players this decade.
Left-Wing: Jeff Skinner (2010-2018)
Jeff Skinner‘s stat line in the 2010s for Carolina made him an easy pick at the left-wing position. Skinner broke in as a rookie to begin the decade, posting a 63-point season and winning the Calder Trophy. Unfortunately, that was the most success he ever really saw in a Hurricanes uniform. He still managed to carve out decent numbers, though. While he never panned out to be the dynamic goalscorer that was projected of him, he posted 204 goals and 175 assists for 379 points in 579 games played since the 2010-11 season.
He’s an easy pick for this position due to the lack of a true challenger. His points total (379) eclipses the games played total for any other Hurricanes player listed as a left-winger. Before being traded out of Carolina, his offence was crucial in helping the fledgling team stay somewhat competitive despite a poor team around him.
However, there’s something to be said for the team’s success since he’s departed. Players like Teuvo Teravainen have come in and eclipsed the offensive punch Skinner brought to the team. Despite all this, Skinner’s longevity in a ‘Canes sweater help gives him the nod here for the left-wing position.
Centre: Jordan Staal (2012-present)
Jordan Staal arrived in Raleigh for the 2012-13 season and has been a fixture down the middle for the team ever since. Since then, he’s played over 500 games for the Hurricanes and has been in the Selke Trophy conversation multiple times. He currently serves as the captain of Carolina, and the honour is well-deserved. He’s been one of the more solid two-way players in the entire NHL for a solid length of time, and his on and off-ice leadership has made him quite synonymous with this hockey team. In the decade for Carolina, he’s posted 105 goals and 184 assists for 289 points in 530 games, exactly 100 more games this decade than his brother Eric Staal.
While he isn’t the most offensively gifted centre Carolina’s had this decade, he’s quite likely the most important one to the team considering his defensive contributions and his leadership qualities. He also did serve as the team’s number one centreman for a few seasons, and that isn’t being overlooked here.
His devotion to playing a rare two-way brand of ice hockey makes him a unique player, especially in the Carolina lineup. It makes him our pick for Carolina’s centre of the decade.
Right Wing: Justin Williams (2004-2009, 2017-present)
Justin Williams‘ second tour of duty in Carolina began in the 2017-18 season, and he’s done nothing but light it up since returning to Raleigh. In addition to being team captain for a brief amount of time, he’s provided playoff heroics and a dose of Stanley Cup nostalgia for Caniacs.
Williams’ accomplishments within the decade include 184 games played with Carolina. He put up 47 goals and 68 assists for 115 points. He’s got two 50-point seasons under his belt, and an unforgettable assist on a Brock McGinn double-overtime winner against the Washington Capitals.
While Williams’ prime seasons with Carolina were in his first stint with the team, his important playoff contributions and exceptional leadership skills have been instrumental in creating a winning culture in Raleigh. Therefore, he’s a slam dunk pick for Carolina’s right-winger of the decade.
Left Defence: Jaccob Slavin (2015-present)
Very few players embody the new breed of NHL defencemen like Carolina’s Jaccob Slavin. In five strong seasons with Carolina, the 25-year-old defenceman has cemented himself as one of the Hurricanes’ more memorable recent players. In almost 400 games, Slavin has put up a respectable 151 points, but his defensive prowess is also remarkable.
Slavin was in the Calder conversation his rookie season. He’s also one of the most defensively sound and disciplined players in the entire NHL. At least 30 points in four straight campaigns are the name of the game for Slavin. This embodies a model of consistency that Carolina is still trying to achieve.
Slavin serves as an alternate captain and was an easy pick for this spot over his competitors. This is due to a combination of experience with the squad and total all-around skill.
Right Defence: Justin Faulk (2011-2019)
Although he’s no longer with the squad, Justin Faulk was the quarterback of Carolina’s defence for virtually the entire decade, making him a no-brainer for this spot. Like Slavin, Faulk was also in the Calder conversation in his rookie season. While he doesn’t have the defensive ability of Slavin, he made up for it with his offence. Faulk, in 559 games, potted 85 goals and 173 assists for 258 points. He ran Carolina’s power play for years.
Faulk also served as the team’s assistant captain for a solid length of time. He eclipsed the 30-point mark in six of his eight seasons with the team. While he never saw playoff action in Carolina, he helped mentor the young defence core that currently exists. While the emergence of players like Brett Pesce made him expendable, Faulk’s experience and power-play prowess make him Carolina’s right-shot d-man of the decade.
Goalie: Cam Ward (2005-2018)
Everyone’s favourite rookie, Cam Ward, rounds out our team of the decade for Carolina. The 2006 Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy winner manned the net for the vast majority of the 2010s for Carolina, eventually giving way to the failed Scott Darling experiment. In 396 games with the ‘Canes this decade, Ward compiled a 180-144-61 record along with a very respectable .911 save percentage.
Ward was also a longtime soldier that wasn’t around to witness Carolina’s playoff success. However, this team is about a decade, not a single season. He played pretty solid hockey while being the starting goaltender for a long amount of time.
The aforementioned Teuvo Teravainen makes a strong case for the left-wing spot, losing out to Skinner. He’s still with the team and has 74 goals, 171 assists, and 245 points in just 313 games with the club.
Jordan’s older brother Eric also gets a shoutout here. The other Staal played in 430 games in the decade for Carolina, while compiling 347 points (129 goals, 218 assists).
An off-the-cuff mention at the right-wing is Alexander Semin. Between 2012 and 2015, the Russian had 105 points in 166 games, potting 41 goals and 64 assists.
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