Three Carolina Hurricanes to remember when playing a game of ‘Puckdoku’


Puckdoku is the trivia game sweeping the hockey world. It’s the NHL equivalent of the “Immaculate Grid“, a three-by-three fill-in-the-blank puzzle which originated as an MLB game but quickly spawned variants for all kinds of other sports leagues.

The concept is simple: for each square, try to think of a player who fits into the criteria established by both the corresponding X- and Y-axis labels. For example, Ray Bourque would fit perfectly into a Boston Bruins/Colorado Avalanche square. Patrick Roy would do just fine for Colorado/Montreal. You get the idea.

Of course, it goes a little deeper than that. Sometimes, instead of teams, Puckdoku uses statistical thresholds (“200+ goals”) or career achievements (“Olympic gold medallist”) as categories. Also, if you want to use a Minnesota North Stars player for the Dallas Stars or an original Winnipeg Jets player for the Arizona Coyotes, you can.

Naturally, some players are more useful for Puckdoku than others. Someone like Maurice Richard, who spent his entire career with the Montreal Canadiens, is pretty much useless for the game unless a Habs label happens to intersect with the right statistical category.

On the flip side, players who spent time with several NHL teams are among the most valuable for Puckdoku purposes. And the more obscure the player, the lower (and better) your “uniqueness” score will be. Both Jarome Iginla and Blake Comeau are valid answers for Calgary/Pittsburgh, but one is a little less well-known than the other.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to spend some time here at Daily Faceoff highlighting three players connected with each NHL franchise who are particularly useful in games of Puckdoku. After taking a break on Tuesday, we’re back today with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Kevin Weekes

Teams: Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils

All you NHL fans probably know Kevin Weekes best for his fast-talking hockey insider persona on Twitter and the NHL Network. He’s one of the best and most recognizable personalities in the hockey world today.

Two decades ago, Weekes was a relatively unheralded but successful goaltender for the Hurricanes fresh off the heels of a Cinderella playoff run with the team in 2002. But he got his start in the NHL with the Florida Panthers, who selected him in the second round of the 1993 NHL Draft. Weekes eventually appeared in just 11 games with the Panthers before being sent to the Vancouver Canucks as part of the blockbuster Pavel Bure trade.

Weekes never found much of a foothold over parts of two seasons in Vancouver, and the Canucks traded the six-foot-two goaltender to the New York Islanders less than a year after they acquired him. He played slightly better in his 36 games there, which emboldened the Tampa Bay Lightning to part with the No. 5 overall pick to acquire him at the 2000 NHL Draft. (The Islanders ultimately selected Raffi Torres).

Through 61 games with the Lightning in the 2000–01 season, Weekes posted an .898 save percentage. That opened the door for Nikolai Khabibulin to steal his gig as starter in 2001–02. At the 2002 trade deadline, the Hurricanes traded Chris Dingman and Shane Willis to the Lightning for Weekes, who usurped Tom Barrasso as the team’s backup to Arturs Irbe.

Weekes and Irbe performed spectacularly in the playoffs as the Hurricanes upset their way to the 2002 Stanley Cup Final. After posting a .939 save percentage in eight games during the first two rounds, Weekes served in his usual backup capacity behind Irbe as the Hurricanes defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference Final before finally falling to the Detroit Red Wings in the championship series.

After the 2005 lockout, Weekes spent two seasons each as a backup with the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils before announcing his retirement in 2009. He wrapped up his playing career with a 107–163–39 record, 19 shutouts, and a .903 save percentage in 348 games over parts of 11 NHL seasons.

Nino Niederreiter

Teams: New York Islanders, Minnesota Wild, Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets

Nino Niederreiter has been one of the NHL’s most consistent second-line wingers for the better part of the last decade. He’s scored some huge goals and has been involved in a couple of lopsided trades. And if it weren’t for him, the Hurricanes might not have ended their decade-long playoff drought in 2019.

The New York Islanders originally selected Niederreiter with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. He made the Islanders out of camp in the 2011–12 season and spent much of the year on the team’s fourth line, playing an ill-fitting role as a grinder alongside the likes of Jay Pandolfo and Marty Reasoner. Niederreiter finished his rookie campaign with an eye-popping stat line of one goal and zero assists in 55 games.

After playing in the AHL in 2012–13, Niederreiter finally received a much-needed change of scenery by way of a trade with the Minnesota Wild. Although the Islanders received reliable plugger Cal Clutterbuck and a third-round pick, Niederreiter became a top-six forward in Minnesota and reached the 20-goal plateau on three separate occasions. He topped out with 25 goals and 57 points in 82 games during the 2016–17 season.

Niederreiter’s production declined in his final two years with the Wild, leading him to be traded to the Hurricanes for Victor Rask midway through the 2018–19 season. While Rask floundered in Minnesota, Niederreiter proved to be just the spark the Hurricanes needed, scoring 14 goals and 30 points in 34 games down the stretch to help the team sneak into the playoffs as a wild card. Niederreiter scored the crucial insurance goal late in the third period of a 3–1 win over the New Jersey Devils on April 4, 2019 to clinch the Hurricanes’ first playoff berth in 10 years.

The Nashville Predators signed Niederreiter to a two-year contract as an unrestricted free agent from the Hurricanes in 2022, but in the midst of a managerial overhaul, the Predators sent Niederreiter to the Winnipeg Jets at the 2023 trade deadline. Through 810 career games with the Islanders, Wild, Hurricanes, Predators, and Jets, Niederreiter has collected 205 goals and 409 points.

Chris Pronger

Teams: Hartford Whalers, St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers, Anaheim Ducks, Philadelphia Flyers

Didn’t expect to see a Hartford Whaler in here, did you? Chris Pronger never actually played for the Carolina Hurricanes during his illustrious career, having been traded by the Whalers to the St. Louis Blues less than two years before the club packed up for Raleigh. But, by virtue of Puckdoku’s rules about relocated teams, Pronger absolutely qualifies as a “Hurricane” for our purposes. Slot him into any pertinent Hurricanes square and watch your uniqueness score improve dramatically.

Pronger was selected No. 2 overall in the 1993 NHL Draft, one spot after the Ottawa Senators picked Alexandre “No one remembers No. 2” Daigle. And although Pronger’s tenure with the Whalers wasn’t particularly memorable, the bruising defenseman certainly made his presence felt after being traded to the Blues for Brendan Shanahan in 1995. Pronger was named team captain three years into his tenure in St. Louis and established himself as one of the best (and most fearsome) players in the entire league soon after, winning both the Norris and Hart trophies in 2000.

After winning a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Pronger spent two more seasons with the Blues before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers in 2005. Still at the height of his abilities, Pronger scored 21 points in 24 playoff games to lift the Oilers all the way to the 2006 Stanley Cup Final, which they lost in seven games … to the Hurricanes. Soon after, Pronger requested a trade despite having played just one year of the five-year contract he’d signed with the Oilers prior to the 2005–06 season.

Shortly thereafter, the Oilers traded Pronger to the Anaheim Ducks. Pronger finally lifted the Stanley Cup upon the conclusion of his first season with the Ducks, helping the club prevail over the Ottawa Senators in five games and becoming a member of the prestigious Triple Gold Club in the process. Pronger spent two more seasons in Anaheim before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2009; after helping the Flyers reach the Stanley Cup Final in his first season with the team, he appeared in parts of two more seasons before suffering a career-ending eye injury in 2011.

Pronger racked up 157 goals, 698 points, and 1,590 penalty minutes in 1,167 career games over parts of 18 seasons with the Whalers, Blues, Oilers, Ducks, and Flyers. He added 26 goals and 121 points in 173 playoff games, which included three trips to the Stanley Cup Final with three different teams. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015, his first year of eligibility, and his No. 44 was retired by the Blues in 2022.

Daily Faceoff Puckdoku series

Anaheim Ducks (08/10) | Arizona Coyotes (08/11) | Boston Bruins (08/12) | Buffalo Sabres (08/13) | Calgary Flames (08/14)


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