My Favorite Colorado Avalanche Players Of All Time
I'm an avid sports fan and hockey is one of the sports I enjoy the most, and have enjoyed for a long time. So, it goes without saying that I have some strong opinions about which players have inspired me the most throughout my life.
However, I didn't first find my love of hockey with the Colorado Avalanche. Since I grew up a little over an hour from Pittsburgh, Pennsylania, in NE Ohio, I've always been a huge Pittsburgh Penguins fan. But 10 years ago, I married a BIG Colorado Avalanche fan, so I adopted them as my second-favorite team.
When I met my wife while living in Texas, we used to drive up to Denver all of the time to watch the Avs play. We cheered on guys like Sakic, Roy, Rob Blake, Peter Forsburg and many more, so I'm very familiar with the several impressive names to be found in the relatively short history of the franchise.
But I'd never really considered which players were truly the GOAT, until I recently came across an article from The Ranker doing just that. While I agree with pretty much all of the players on the publication's list, I thought it would be fun to rearrange the order a bit and go with MY PERSONAL favorite Avalanche players of all time.
(On a side note: I can't wait to be able to go to live games again.)
1. Patrick Roy
Patrick Roy took the goalie position and brought it to a whole new level. He was like a wall, steadfastly blocking the net for many seasons. He started his career in Montreal, winning two Stanley Cups before he was traded to the Avs in 1996. Coincidentally (or maybe not), this was the same year the Avs franchise claimed the Stanley Cup. Roy wasn't just good, he was TOUGH. With all due respect to Joe Sakic, Roy is MY #1 favorite player.
2. Joe Sakic
While Roy was taking goals away from opposing teams, Joe Sakic was busy scoring them for the Avs at an incredible clip. He not only led the Avalanche to two Stanley Cup victories, he helped lead Canada to their first ever Olympic gold medal during the 2002 Winter Olympics. I don't know how anyone couldn't find that kind of hustle and drive inspiring, bringing Sakic to number two on my list.
3. Peter Forsberg
My wife's favorite Avalanche player of all time comes in at the number 3 spot on my own list. Forsberg was an anchor in the middle of those great Avs teams who were "enforcing the law," if you will. Not only was he tough, but he could rack up points and set up many of his teammates to do the same. In fact, Forsberg is ranked 8th of all time assists in NHL history and, just like the previous two guys on this list, was ranked in 2017 as one of the 100 best players of all time in the NHL. Much deserved.
4. Adam Foote
I always thought the Avalanche was the perfect team for Adam Foote because the Avs have a giant foot on their jerseys. So, where else is a guy with a last name of Foote supposed to go? Seriously though, this man did a LOT for the franchise. He was a rock of a defenseman and quite the enforcer. While the Avs were known for a lot of scoring back in the day, a lot of their toughness came from Foote's strong leadership in the middle. He helped raise two Stanley Cup banners in the Pepsi Center and was teammates with Joe Sakic when they both led Canada to the country's first gold medal in the Winter Olympics in 2002.
5. Milan Hejduk (Tied with Rob Blake)
It was so hard to figure out the fifth player for my list, so, for the fifth spot, it's a tie between these two players. I HAD to put Hejduk on there because... well, he was an awesome scoring machine and super fun to watch. "The Duke" retired after playing the most career games for the Colorado Avalanche (1,020), plus, in 2001, he helped the Avs with their 2001 Stanley Cup run and in 2003, he led the entire NHL in goals scored.
5. Rob Blake (Tied with Milan Hejduk)
I simply couldn't choose between these two. Not only did Rob Blake show some incredible skills on the ice, but off the ice, I had a chance to meet this star player and I've got to say, he truly is one of the nicest people I've ever met. Blake was drafted by the L.A. Kings and came to Colorado in 2001, immediately winning another Stanley Cup (his second after winning his first with the Kings). He is one of only 17 defensemen in NHL history to record 200 goals. He was also a three-time all-star and a stellar leader, both on the ice and in the locker room during his five years with the Avs.
YouTube/ Vega 21
This #1 overall pick in the 2013 draft is paying some serious dividends for the Avs right now and is so much fun to watch. He's fast, has incredible ice vision and is tough as nails. With him on the ice, the future is bright for this young man and the Avs. So, while he didn't make my list, it's still worth saying that Nathan MacKinnon is LEGIT.
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