Top Lines in Colorado Avalanche History

The Colorado Avalanche have performed host to among the finest hockey gamers in the league. During their run of a number of championships, and even past, the Avalanche have regularly had a mix of expertise that made them some of the thrilling groups to observe.

From prime to backside, the Avs traces have all the time offered followers with nice hockey. Here are the highest traces in Avalanche historical past, in no specific order.

Gabriel Landeskog – Nathan MacKinnon – Matt Duchene

Dubbed “The 9 Line,” this mixture was thrown collectively throughout the 2015-16 season to try to get some scoring going, and they didn’t disappoint. During the time this line was collectively, it was the most well liked line in the NHL and was the one line that did any scoring throughout that stretch. Though Patrick Roy was adamant that he wouldn’t break up the lineup, he ended up mixing up line mixtures as accidents mounted over the course of the season. (from ‘Patrick Roy won’t break up up loaded “Nine Line” of Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon, Gabe Landeskog,’ Denver Post, 11/20/2015)

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While this line was collectively, Matt Duchene set a franchise file for objectives in the month of November the place he scored 11 instances. It was a line that had a ton of ability and velocity that would take over video games. (from ‘Hot-Scoring Matt Duchene Leads Avalanche Past the Devils,’ New York Times, 12/02/2015) While the road was very productive, it additionally highlighted precisely how a lot the Avs lacked depth on the time. They tried to re-create the magic the next season, however throughout the 48-point season, few issues labored properly. This line undoubtedly didn’t have the endurance of among the finest traces in staff historical past, nevertheless it was some of the dynamic.

Gabriel Landeskog-Nathan MacKinnon-Mikko Rantanen

Sometimes nice issues come from a easy change. Ironically, the Duchene commerce in Nov. 2017 opened a door for Mikko Rantanen to take Duchene’s former slot on proper wing. The change propelled all three gamers to new heights and ushered in a rebirth of playoff hockey for the membership. They turned an intimidating line of velocity, ability, and energy. By their second 12 months collectively, the trio developed into the most effective traces in all of hockey. The prime line’s 261 mixed factors propelled the Avalanche to the second spherical of the playoffs for the primary time in eight years, battling to an thrilling recreation seven.

Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen
Colorado Avalanche Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen, the keystone of the Avalanche’s new period of success. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Each participant introduced their very own distinctive skillsets. Gabriel Landeskog challenged gamers together with his bodily two-way recreation, opening up the ice for his swift linemates as he deflected objectives into the web. Rantanen hustled to create scoring possibilities whereas utilizing his dimension and shifty puck dealing with to guard the puck. Nathan MacKinnon rocketed to stardom, as the road’s chemistry unleashed his scoring prowess. He was named a Hart Trophy finalist their first year together as his scoring practically doubled and he racked up 196 factors in the trio’s first two seasons collectively. The dynamic mixture developed into an almost unstoppable power of thrilling hockey, that includes highly effective scoring which wore down opponents.

Shjon Podein – Stephane Yelle – Eric Messier

This is without doubt one of the most underrated traces in the historical past of the Avalanche. Stephane Yelle was part of two championships in Colorado and was a defensive stalwart for each groups. Eric Messier was a superb utility participant that regularly swapped between protection and checking ahead roles, relying on what the staff wanted on the time. Shjon Podein was a long-time Flyer that the Avs acquired in a commerce for Keith Jones.

Related: Top 10 NHL Lines

While this line wasn’t one of many extra thrilling traces to observe, they’re nonetheless the most effective. Their job was to close down the opposing staff and play the laborious minutes. Defense might have been their major perform, however this line was additionally able to possessing the puck in the offensive zone, even chipping in a little bit of offense. In truth, this line was answerable for one of many largest objectives of the 2001 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Ville Nieminen – Chris Drury – Dan Hinote

Another line from the 2001 Stanley Cup championship staff, this one featured prominently in the playoffs. This line was absolutely the epitome of “hard to play against.” All three gamers had been quick skaters, tenacious on the forecheck, might play bodily and shortly transition turnovers into scoring possibilities.

Chris Drury
Chris Drury (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

This line was a superb change-of-pace line for the Avalanche, who often despatched this trio out as their third line. First groups must take care of Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg (till his spleen was taken out), solely to see this group come at you. Nieminen and Hinote had been the bangers, and Chris Drury would often reap the advantages together with his velocity and ability. Go again and watch these guys, they had been thrilling.

Alex Tanguay – Joe Sakic – Milan Hejduk

The “JAM Line” continues to be the most effective traces ever to return collectively on the ice in Denver. Sakic is without doubt one of the finest all-around gamers in NHL historical past, Alex Tanguay might stick-handle in a cellphone sales space and Milan Hejduk had the most effective scoring touches of any participant in the league. Put all of them collectively on the similar time and you’ve got sheer dominance. During their time collectively, Sakic tallied one in every of his two 50-goal seasons and was named league MVP. Simply put, you couldn’t cease this line…you would solely hope to include them.

Scott Young – Joe Sakic – Adam Deadmarsh

Not fairly as dominant from some extent manufacturing view, however nonetheless the most effective to play in Denver. This trio was one other wonderful mixture of expertise that made a whole line that gave opponents matches. Scott Young had velocity and a depraved shot, Adam Deadmarsh introduced grit and a net-front presence unimaginable to disregard and Sakic was Sakic.

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Super Joe notched his first 50-goal season whereas taking part in with these two on his wings and went on to win the Conn Smythe Trophy after scoring 18 playoff objectives. This line produced very properly, however most of it was on Sakic’s again.

Valeri Kamensky – Peter Forsberg – Claude Lemieux

Back to the early days of the Avs, this group completely dominated. Claude Lemieux was acquired simply earlier than the season started after successful the Conn Smythe with the New Jersey Devils the 12 months earlier than. He was one of many acquisitions that took the Avalanche from being a great staff to a championships staff. Peter Forsberg’s greatness was simply starting to indicate and Valeri Kamensky is without doubt one of the most underrated scorers to ever play in Colorado.

Peter Forsberg
DENVER – APRIL 9: Peter Forsberg #21 of the Colorado Avalanche breaks away towards the Dallas Stars in the third interval of recreation two of the primary spherical of the Stanley Cup playoffs on the Pepsi Center on April 9, 2004 in Denver, Colorado. The Avs received 5-2. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

To offer you an image of precisely how good this line was, throughout the 1995-96 season, all three of those gamers scored 30 objectives. They mixed for 107 objectives, 165 assists, and 272 factors. From a sheer manufacturing standpoint, this may occasionally have been probably the most dominant line in Avalanche historical past.

Alex Tanguay – Peter Forsberg – Milan Hejduk

This line rivals solely the earlier Forsberg line in ability and dominance. Tanguay and Hejduk have the distinctive distinction of being the wingers for each Avalanche gamers to win the Hart Memorial Trophy, first aiding Sakic’s MVP. In the 2002-03 season, this line mixed for 105 objectives, 166 assists and 271 factors. Considering that this was proper in the center of the “dead puck” period, this accomplishment is astonishing.

This line earned lots of {hardware} on the finish of the season. Forsberg got here residence with the Hart and Art Ross Trophies as league MVP and scoring champion. Hejduk additionally received the Rocket Richard Trophy with the one 50-goal season of his profession. It is difficult to argue towards this being the best line in the historical past of the Colorado Avalanche.

Historic Contributions

The NHL honored each Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg by inducting them into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Not solely had been they necessary to the Avalanche, their performed garnered the respect of the hockey neighborhood.

The Avalanche thought of the contributions of Sakic, Hejduk and Forsberg important sufficient to retire their numbers. While Forsberg’s profession ended early as a result of ankle issues, he averaged a powerful 1.30 factors per recreation over his profession with the Avalanche whereas Hejduk spent his total profession with the staff. The trio’s performances in the postseason are the stuff of legend. Sakic nonetheless holds the file for many postseason extra time objectives with eight.

The youthful gamers on this checklist nonetheless have fairly a little bit of hockey left to play, however one wonders if it’s solely a matter of time earlier than MacKinnon, Rantanen, and Landeskog be a part of different Avalanche legends in the rafters.

* initially revealed on August 3, 2017

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