From 1979 to 1997 the Hartford Whalers rocked the Hartford Civic Center with a brand of rock ’em sock ’em Hockey that captivated a region.
And who could forget that Fabulous Hartford Whalers logo!
Today we remember Whalers and honor their top 5 performers and famous Hartford Whalers, so crank the “Brass Bonanza” and enjoy!
Hartford Whalers Best Players No.5: Pat Verbeek RW (1989-1995)
Who in the Hartford Metropolitan Area could forget the scrappy Winger with a savage temper and a nose for the net. Nicknamed “The Little Ball of Hate”, Verbeek scratched and clawed his way to 192 goals and 403 points along with 1144 well earned penalty minutes in his six seasons as a Whaler.
A fan favorite for his fearless style of play, Verbeek was always in the middle of the action.
Hartford Whalers Best Players No. 4: Ulf Samuelsson D (1984-1991)
The hammer on Hartford’s back end, Ulf was the foundation of the Whalers Defense for seven seasons. He posted a +71 Plus/Minus for a franchise that boasted very few “plus” skaters in team history.
Samuelsson engaged in some of the bloodiest battles in Whalers history as a bludgeoning force to be feared.
He would realize his championship glory two times over in Pittsburgh as a valuable cog for the back to back champions of 1991-1992.
Hartford Whalers Best Players No. 3: Kevin Dineen RW (1984-1991,1995-1997)
The tenacious RW, was the heart and soul of Hartford’s most successful teams during the mid 1980’s.
A true power forward, Dineen mixed grit and scoring prowess on his way to 235 goals and 473 points in his 9 seasons. Kevin topped 40 goals twice and scored at least 25 goals seven times during his tenure in Hartford.
It is only fitting that on April 13, 1997, Dineen would score the final goal in Whalers history, a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Hartford Whalers Best Players No. 2: Mike Liut G (1985-1990)
On February 21, 1985, Whalers GM Emile Francis engineered a blockbuster deal with the St. Louis Blues for the star Goaltender and Liut did not disappoint.
A big, rangy goalie, Mike owned virtually every Hartford Goaltending record at the time of his trade to Washington in 1991 and his epic duel in the 1986 playoffs with a rookie netminder named Patrick Roy in the Adams Division Final was one for the ages.
Liut matched Roy stop for stop until 5:55 of Overtime in game seven where another youngster, Claude Lemieux chipped one by Liut, ending the Whalers playoff hopes and propelling Montreal towards their 23rd Stanley Cup.
Hartford Whalers Best Players No.1: Ron Francis C (1981-1991)
“The Franchise” Ron Francis, was a star the moment he arrived in Hartford as an 18-year old after being selected 4th overall in 1981.
Francis immediately gave the Whalers an identity and scoring presence, racking up 821 points in his decade in Green.
On March 4, 1991 the Whalers did the unthinkable and traded Francis to Pittsburgh with Grant Jennings and Ulf Samuelsson for John Cullen, Jeff Parker and Zarley Zalapski, a trade that would torpedo the teams hopes and would signal the beginning of the end of the franchise in Hartford.
Francis however was far from done, winning back to back Stanley Cups in 1991-1992 while racking up 549 goals and 1798 points, placing him 5th all time on the all time scoring list.
Francis has a Selke Trophy, a King Clancy Trophy and three Lady Byng Trophies to his credit as well.