Top 5: Best Trades by Organization- Colorado Avalanche

Making trades is an everyday occurrence in the NHL. Most are run-of-the-mill deals that go under the radar and are forgotten to time. Others are more prolific. Sometimes an organization hits a home run and it defines a generation of hockey, so let’s take a trip around the NHL and find the best trades by every organization. Next up, the Colorado Avalanche!

Number 5: Keith Ballard, Derek Morris for Chris Gratton, Ossi Vaananen, and a 2005 2nd round pick (Paul Stastny)

The Avalanche were coming off their Stanley Cup high during the 2004 trade deadline and needed a shakeup. They traded defense prospect Keith Ballard and defenseman Derek Morris for journeyman enforcer Chris Gratton and defenseman Ossi Vaananen as well as a 2nd round pick. While the roster players involved in the trade weren’t overly impressive, that second round pick became forward Paul Stastny. Playing for the same franchise his father did, he broke the Avs rookie point total record, as well as breaking the NHL rookie record for a point streak with a point in 20 straight games. He spent eight seasons with the Avalanche scoring 458 points before leaving in free agency in 2014.

Number 4: Adam Deadmarsh, Aaron Miller, 2001 1st (David Steckel), 2003 1st (Brian Boyle) and Jared Aulin for Rob Blake and Steven Reinprecht

After 11 seasons with the LA Kings, defenseman Rob Blake was about to become a free agent in the summer of 2001 and the Kings didn’t want to lose him for nothing. The Avalanche were the team to pay the huge asking price of longtime forward Adam Deadmarsh, defenseman Aaron Miller, a pair of first round picks, and prospect Jared Aulin. Reinprecht was a nice depth center addition for the Avs, but the crown jewel was defenseman Rob Blake. He made an immediate impact by helping the Avalanche win their second Stanley Cup in four seasons. He played in four more seasons for the Avs before retuning to the Kings in free agency in 2006.

Number 3: Claude Lemieux for Wendel Clark

One of the first orders of business when the Quebec Nordiques moved to Colorado was to trade veteran tough guy Wendel Clark, who was in the middle of a contract dispute, to the New York Islanders in a three-team trade for another veteran forward Claude Lemieux, who came from the New Jersey Devils. Lemieux’s later seasons with the Devils were marred by injury and less-than-stellar play when he was healthy, but the move to Colorado reinvigorated his career, as he put up 39 goals and 71 points during the 1995-96 season. He helped lead the Avalanche to their first Stanley Cup, which was Lemieux’s second straight Cup win after winning one with the Devils the previous season.

Number 2: Martin Grenier, Samuel Pahlsson, Brian Rolston, 2001 1st (Martin Samuelsson), for Dave Andreychuk and Ray Bourque

The 21-year NHL Boston Bruins veteran defenseman Ray Bourque was looking for a Stanley Cup to wrap up his illustrious career. With the Bruins at the bottom of the Eastern Conference during the 1999-00 season, the 39-year-old denfenseman requested a trade and was dealt along with Dave Andreychuk to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for center Brian Rolston, prospects Martin Grenier and Samuel Pahlsson, and a first round pick in the 2001 draft. The Avalanche made the Western Conference Final in 2000 but lost to the Dallas Stars. Bourque returned for the 2000-01 season and finally won his first Stanley Cup, one of the best feel good stories in NHL history.

Number 1: Andrei Kovalenko, Martin Ruchinsky, Jocelyn Thibeault, for Mike Keane and Patrick Roy

During a game against the Detroit Red Wings on December 2, 1995, the Canadiens played their worst game in franchise history, taking an 11-1 loss. Roy started the game and allowed nine goals on 26 shots before he was finally pulled in the second period. In a rage, he told team president Ronald Corey that it was his last game in Montreal. He was subsequently suspended and four days later was traded to the Colorado Avalanche alongside captain Mike Keane for underperforming forward Andrei Kovalenko, prospect Martin Rucinsky, and young promising goalie Jocelyn Thibault. The additions of Roy and Keane pushed the Avs from good to great and they won the Stanley Cup in 1996, and Roy was also apart of the 2001 winning team as well.

Honorable mention

2008 1st (Luca Sbisa) and a 2009 4th (David Savard) for Adam Foote

Foote’s first tenure with the Colorado Avalanche was cut short by the implementation of the salary cap after the 2005 lockout. He was dealt to the Blue Jackets and spent three seasons there. But on the eve of the 2008 trade deadline he was brough back to Colorado for a pair of draft picks. Even though his return was marred by injuries, he was named captain after Sakic retired in 2009. Unfortunately the Avs were on the downswing at in the early 2010’s so Foote couldn’t lead the team to success. He retired at the end of the 2010-11 season after injuries limited him to just 47 games. Foote’s jersey was retired by the Avalanche on November 2, 2003, joining Ray Bourque, Patrick Roy, Peter Forsberg, and Joe Sakic as the only other Avalanche players to have that honor.

By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)

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