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Fanspeak: Francis voted greatest player in Hurricanes’ history

Aug 16, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

Hurricanes Front Office Shakeup Hockey AP

This summer, NBC Sports’ social media team is conducting the #NHLGreatest initiative, designed for fans to choose the best player in each franchise’s history. Balloting was conducted through three platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — with thousands of votes being cast. The results of this initiative will be released throughout the month of August, in conjunction with PHT’s Team of the Day series.

Carolina Hurricanes

1. Ron Francis (639)

2. Rod Brind’Amour (438)

3. Eric Staal (178)

4. Cam Ward (109)

Hartford Whalers fans can take the same delight as Carolina Hurricanes fans, as the face of both renditions of the franchise was voted the greatest player in Hurricanes history. In case you missed it up top, that man is former player and current GM Ron Francis. It’s fitting, after all, that he was known to some as “The Franchise” … at least when he wasn’t topping underrated players lists.

Francis starred for the Whalers from 1981-82 through 1990-91, when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Francis then made his return to the franchise as a member of the Hurricanes from 1998-99 to 2003-04, the same season that he finished off his career with a forgettable 12 games as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

(Seriously, let’s try to forget that ever happened.)

When you combine Hurricanes and Whalers stats, Francis towers above anyone else historically. He scored a whopping 1,175 points, nearly doubling second place all-time player Eric Staal (who sits at 688 right now). In fact, Francis has more assists (793) than anyone else has points. Francis also ranks second all-time in playoff scoring with 39 points in 62 games (Staal has 43 points in as many postseason contests).

The Hall-of-Famer won two Stanley Cups during his run with the Penguins, yet most think of him as a Whaler/Hurricane … and many still think of Francis when they ponder that franchise.

  1. bluesdroogie - Aug 16, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    could have gone either way, francis or brind’amour. 2 great players. does this survey include the days as the whalers?

    • jinx21fan - Aug 16, 2014 at 11:21 PM

      I guess that’s my bad … I assumed the Hartford years were included. If they are I think Francis easy, just Carolina it doesn’t tighten up between him and Rod B.

      • bluesdroogie - Aug 16, 2014 at 11:49 PM

        my fault, I did not read the article just say the list and posted. I do remember Francis on the whalers before the penguins. I MISS THE WHALERS. The owner was an a-hole for moving the team after saying he would not.

        I was really happy when Brind’Amour won the cup. He deserved it.

  2. jinx21fan - Aug 16, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    One of the easier selections

  3. vancouversportsbro - Aug 16, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    Wow, he certainly beat some tough competition

  4. nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 17, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    Since, if I recall, Gretzky got some Blues votes, I’m surprised Gordie Howe didn’t get some Whalers votes.
    But seriously, trivia time: what Hall of Famer was TRADED to both the Whalers and the Hurricanes in separate deals?

    • buffbry - Aug 17, 2014 at 12:32 AM

      Didn’t 3 players do it? Francis dineen and wesley?

    • bluesdroogie - Aug 17, 2014 at 12:43 AM

      Gretzky was a pt a game or better with the Blues. I hate Keenan. He screwed up everything. But Shanny for Pronger was a brilliant move as it brought back Janney to set up Hull. I know most of the Whalers fans must hate Shanny. I do also. He was a PRICK, but a damn good one.

    • alicesrightfootesq - Aug 17, 2014 at 12:44 AM


      • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 17, 2014 at 3:47 AM

        Bingo! Alice wins!

  5. anthj99 - Aug 17, 2014 at 4:55 AM

    Francis is one of the most overlooked and underrated superstars in the history of the NHL. Point per game in over 1700 games, #4 point-getter of all time! Sick!

  6. luz56 - Aug 17, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    If I’m not mistaken Brian Burke put together some VG teams in Hartford… Whalers, QC, Seattle … Hell even a team in Saskatoon could survive as could London Ont

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