Greetings, Canes fans. With the tough times lately, I thought we’d go for something a little lighter for my latest feature piece: my top 10 obscure Hurricanes. Now, let’s start with a couple disclaimers. Obscure is in no ways meant to be a demeaning term here. It simply means the players barely spent any time here, more of a “we hardly knew ye” connotation. This list is not meant to demean in any way. Everyone on it is an NHL player and deserving of respect. Also, I have been following the team hardcore since 2009. These are MY top 10 obscure Canes and earlier ones won’t make the cut. All that being said, let’s get started.
10 – Adam Hall, C- Playing a (very) brief stint for the Hurricanes in the lockout-shortened 2012-13, Hall was claimed off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning in an effort to add some depth and another player for the fourth line to win faceoffs. Hall had the distinction of being claimed off waivers… then traded back to the team that waived him, as then General Manager Jim Rutherford sent him back to the Bolts at the deadline for defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron.
Hall played all of six games in the sightless eye with no goals or assists (not really his role anyway). His six games in Raleigh a very small blip on the radar of Hall’s career, it takes a fan well-versed in Hurricanes lore to bring him to memory, though the unique circumstances of his two transactions with the Canes make him a bit more memorable.
9 – Tim Wallace, W- Another member of the post-lockout team (they’ll show up a few times here) and former Lightning, Wallace was a player that I enjoyed watching. He brought a physical element to the lineup, not being afraid to throw the body around. Putting up a goal and an assist in 28 games in 2012-13, Wallace was as pure fourth-line as they come, and was not afraid to drop the gloves either. Another hired gun passing through Raleigh, he rode off into the sunset after the season, another legend for the die-hard fans.
8- Alexandre Picard, D- An easy place to find obscurity among the Hurricanes of yesteryear? Trade deadline day. Picard was part of the return from the Ottawa Senators for long-time Cane Matt Cullen at the 2010 trade deadline. Picard played nine games down the stretch for the Canes, with no points. Players passing through teams never to be seen or heard from again is common with deadline deals, and Picard’s brief tenure as a Cane was no different.
7 – Stephane Yelle, C- One of a handful of veterans brought in during the 2009 free agency period to help push the team forward after its playoff run in 2009, Yelle was then part of the fire sale at the 2010 trade deadline when things did not go as planned. He was sent to the Colorado Avalanche when Rutherford traded everything not tied down. Brought in for depth at center, Yelle put up four goals and seven points in 59 games, and was one of those Rutherford signings that did not quite pan out. We hardly knew ye, Stephane.
6 – Andrew Alberts, D- See Yelle, Stephane. Just kidding. Well, kind of. The circumstances of Alberts’ acquisition and departure are pretty much identical. He was brought into to fill a different role, as a gritty defenseman. Known for his physicality, Alberts piled up 74 PIMs in in 62 games, but did also add two goals and ten points. That 2009-10 season was not a great moment in Hurricanes history, and a lot of names passed through that year. The stat list for that season is a long one, with injuries and trades creating a huge amount of roster turnover throughout the year. Alberts took his place among the shuffle.
5 – Troy Bodie, W- Seeking toughness early in the 2010-11 season, the Canes claimed Troy Bodie off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks. He provided it. Bodie picked up 54 PIMs in 50 games, also chipping in a goal and two assists. Your typical enforcer, he was in and out of the lineup and stepped up when needed, joining a few other fighters on this list of obscurity at season’s end.
4 – Ryan Carter, C- See Bodie, Troy. I’m kidding even less this time. Bodie was traded to the Canes, also from the Ducks in that same season to add toughness and forward depth. He played in 32 games, chipping in three assists. He was part of the deadline deal with the Panthers that brought back Cory Stillman, and that was all she wrote for Carter’s Raleigh days.
3 – Jack Hillen, D- A throw-in with the trade that sent Tim Gleason to Washington at the 2015 deadline, Hillen played three games for the Canes, his time limited by injuries. He seems to be the one name Hurricanes fans love to throw in when bringing up obscure players they can name, if only for how recent his time here was.
2 – Aaron Palushaj, W- Signed to a two-way deal from the Colorado Avalanche in the 2013 offseason, I’m not sure why Palushaj stands out so highly among the obscure for me, but he seems to just be the perfect obscure Canes. He was brought in to compete for a spot with the thought that he had the potential to play some games and add some offense. Play some games he did, donning the sightless eye for two games. Chipping in? Not so much, with no points. If you didn’t use google here, give yourself a pat on the back.
1 – Marc-Andre Gragnani, D- Part of a large rotating cast of defensemen in the aforementioned lockout season, Gragnani was brought in from Buffalo during the preceding summer to compete for a spot on defense. He played in a grand total of one game for Carolina. He might be more famous among Canes fans for scoring his first NHL goal in overtime against the Canes in a key April game in 2011 than the one game he played in 2013, making him the crowning jewel of Hurricane obscurity.
Well, there you have it, my top 10 obscure Hurricanes. Kudos to you if you knew all these names. Feel free to comment or ping me on Twitter @aschnitt53 with yours, if I missed anyone or to share stories of obscure Canes from earlier eras.