Craig Adams is a model for what is possible in the NHL for players maybe without the most skill but with heart, character and a willingness to do whatever it takes to make and stay in the NHL. Drafted in the 9th round, he would not have projected to be an NHL player. But we worked his way up through the ranks, broke into the NHL with the Canes in the 2000-01 season and has stayed since then. His formula was not that of elite or even above average hockey skill. Rather it was built upon being a consistent energy player and positive role player in the locker room. He was not the pure version of an enforcer, but in his early days Adams was known to step into a fight when it was needed but there were no better Canes options on the ice.
As of August 2015, he ranks eleventh in Canes history with 427 regular season games played in a Carolina Hurricanes uniform from 2000-01 through 2007-08. In those games, he collected 33 goals and 44 assists. He played for the 2001-02 team but saw only one game in the playoffs, and he was part of the Adams (Craig)/Adams (Kevyn)/LaRose energy 4th line in the 2006 Stanley Cup win. For his part in the Canes first two great playoff teams, Craig Adams is listed among the Canes greats.
The visual memory of Craig Adams would be him stepping in to stand up for a teammate without consideration for whether the player he was stepping in front of was above his weight class in case things escalated. While not amongst the team leaders in stats, Craig Adams character and team-first role player approach makes him a good fit for the Unsung Heroes section of the bracket.