AVS HISTORY: How Two Trades Shaped A Franchise

Vancouver Canucks v Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche forward Peter Forsberg takes the ice for the first time since rejoining the team as they warm up prior to facing the Vancouver Canucks at the Pepsi Center on March 4, 2008. Forsberg was a central figure in the Quebec Nordiques (later Coloado Avalanche) trade that sent Eric Lindros to the Philadelphia Flyers in the summer of 1992. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images North America

On July 1, 1995, the deal that moved the Quebec Nordiques to Colorado became official.

The Colorado Avalanche was born.

In its first season in Denver, 1995-1996, the Avalanche won a Stanley Cup. Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Patrick Roy and Adam Foote were household names.

The foundation for that championship team was set in the summer of 1992. The Avalanche, still the Quebec Nordiques at the time, could not come to an agreement with their 1991 first round pick Eric Lindros. The Nordiques selected Lindros first overall in the 1991 NHL draft.

Lindros, however, refused to play for then-Nordiques owner Marcel Aubut and held out.

The holdout lasted until the Nordiques agreed to trade Lindros to the Philadelphia Flyers on June 20, 1992. Aubut immediately had second thoughts and worked out a separate deal with the New York Rangers. Eventually, an arbitrator ruled that the trade with the Flyers was enforceable and Lindros went to Philadelphia for Peter Forsberg (the sixth overall pick in the 1991 draft), Steve Duchesne, Ron Hextall, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, Philadelphia's first round pick in 1993, Philadelphia's first round pick in 1994 and $15 million.

Over time, the effects of that trade propelled the franchise to winning a pair of Stanley Cups, in 1995-1996 and also in 2000-2001.

Years later, Jay Snider, the Flyers president from 1983-1994, said the trade was the foundation for the Avs success

"The deal they [the Nordiques] made with us enabled Colorado to win," Snider said.

Not only did Forsberg turn into a superstar for the Avs, but the other players and picks led to the acquisition of a total of six players who would later be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In 2020, Steve Dangle of Sportsnet detailed the trade tree of the Nordiques-Flyers blockbuster deal. It is well worth watching.

As if that trade were not enough, the Avalanche pulled off another franchise-changing blockbuster trade on November 5, 2017.

General manager Joe Sakic, a first round pick of the Nordiques (15th overall) in 1987 and later a star on the Avs two Stanley Cup-winning teams, engineered a three-team deal with the Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators.

Forward Matt Duchene, the Avs first round pick (3rd overall) in 2009 went from Colorado to Ottawa.

Forward Kyle Turris went from Ottawa to Nashville.

From Ottawa, the Avalanche acquired forward Shane Bowers (Ottawa's 2019 first round pick) goalie Andrew Hammond, a conditional first round pick and a 2019 third round pick.

From Nashville, the Avalanche acquired defenseman Samuel Girard (Nashville's 2016 second round pick), forward Vladislav Kamenev and 2019 second round pick.

The full impact of the Avs haul in the trade is not yet fully known. But there is no doubt that the early returns show it to be a trade that has impacted the Avalanche roster as Colorado makes a run to the Stanley Cup this season.

Dangle outlined the trade tree of the deal back in the summer of 2020. Sakic the GM lived up to the "Super Joe" nickname he earned as a player.

Building a championship roster is easier said than done. There is no doubt, however, that the trade of Eric Lindros played a central role in the Avs winning two Stanley Cups.

the Matt Duchene deal could very well become a central piece to another Cup for the Avalanche.

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