Top 50 Colorado Avalanche

The origin of the Colorado Avalanche begins in the World Hockey Association with the Quebec Nordiques, who first took the ice as a charter member in 1972.  The Nordiques were one of the most exciting teams in the WHA, loaded with French-Canadian talent, which translated into success.  Quebec would win the Avco Cup in 1977 and were finalists in 1975.

They would enter the NHL in 1979 when the two leagues merged, and in the 1980s with Michel Goulet and Peter Stastny, they remained exciting, though they could not make it very deep in the playoffs.  By the decade's end, they were basement dwellers and perpetually drafting first overall.  One such pick was Eric Lindros, who refused to play there, but they dealt him to the Philadelphia Flyers, and with what they were able to get in return, they were able to return to the winning side of the ledger.

In the mid-90s, the Nordiques were good again, but playing in a small market, the weak Canadian dollar, and the overall lack of revenue rendered the team as a financial loser.  They would be sold to a group in Denver and would relocate as the Colorado Avalanche.  With Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, and an incoming Patrick Roy, the franchise won their first Stanley Cup in 1996, their first year in their new home.  Colorado would win their second Cup in 2001.

They have yet to make the Finals since, but the city of Denver has proven to be one of the best fanbases in hockey.  It will likely remain that way for decades to come.

This list is up to the end of the 2020/21 season.

Note: Hockey lists are based on an amalgamation of tenure, traditional statistics, advanced statistics, playoff statistics, and post-season accolades.

Anton Stastny was actually drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1976, though that would be voided by the NHL, who deemed him too young for the draft (he was 19 at the time).  The Quebec Nordiques drafted him the following year, but many thought it was pointless as he lived…
Duchesne was drafted 3rd overall in 2009, and fittingly he finished third in Calder Trophy voting in 2009-10 after he scored 55 Points.  The Center from Haliburton, Ontario, had a better sophomore campaign with a 67 Point season and a trip to the All-Star Game, but injuries took him out…
From the Soviet Union, Valeri Kamensky was one of a handful of players that NHL teams began to draft in the possible anticipation that they could one day play in the NHL.  Kamensky was drafted in 1988 by the Quebec Nordiques, and he would debut for them in the 1991-92…
From Indianapolis, John-Michael Liles would play his first seven seasons in the National Hockey League with the Colorado Avalanche, a period that without question was the best of his career.
As of this writing, Erik Johnson has been one of the better American Defenseman in the NHL for the past few seasons.
Dale Hunter was a tough as nails hockey player who would score as quickly as he would enter the penalty box.  As a rookie with the Quebec Nordiques, he would score 63 Points, and in four of the next five campaigns with Quebec, he would reach the 60 Point mark. 
Drafted 10th overall in 2015, Mikko Rantanen came with high expectations after a tremendous junior career in Finland.  Rantanen didn’t play much with the big club as a rookie, as he played mostly in the AHL, where he was the co-winner of the Rookie of the Year.  Rantanen would win…
The Quebec Nordiques were ahead of the curve in regards to looking at Eastern Bloc talents as they drafted many a player that was in Communist countries, which seemingly could never play in the NHL.  As history has shown us, they were right.
Adam Deadmarsh was a 1st Round Pick (14th Overall) in 1993, and he would debut the following season.  The Right Wing scored 48 Points in the organization's first full year in Colorado, and he would help the Avalanche win their first Stanley Cup, although his name was initially misspelled on…
Randy Moller went from the Gold Medal of the World Junior Hockey Championships with Canada to the NHL and the Quebec Nordiques.  The Nords were blessed to have him throughout the '80s, where the towering defenseman used his size to intimidate and check among the best of them.  
Three things come to mind when you think of Claude Lemieux. The first is that he was the supreme agitator, and was considered by many to be a dirty hockey player.
Mario Marois joined the Quebec Nordiques where he would stay until he was traded to the Winnipeg Jets in November of the 1985-86 Season.
In 1989, Mats Sundin would make history as he would become the first ever European player to be chosen number one in the NHL Draft when the Quebec Nordiques did so in 1989. 
After being drafted 24th Overall in 1980, Quebec born Defenseman, Normand Rochefort, joined the Quebec Nordiques as a rookie and would play 56 Games as a rookie.
Drafted number one overall in 1990, Owen Nolan had a slow start as a rookie, only scoring 13 Points in 59 Games, but he would turn it around the following season.
Curtis Leschyshyn was able to play over 1,000 Games in the National Hockey League (1,033), with slightly over half of them being with the Nordiques/Avalanche.
Alan Cote would spend his entire career with the Quebec Nordiques, which would begin when he signed with them in 1977. 
From the Czech Republic, Marin Skoula was a 1998 First Round Pick who would make his debut for the Colorado Avalanche the following year. 
One of the most delightful stories in Avalanche history is the success of Brett Clark.  After years of bouncing back and forth from the NHL to the minors with the Montreal, Atlanta, and Colorado organizations, at age 28, he broke out as a very capable two-way Defenseman at the elite…
Ryan O’Reilly was a 2nd Round Pick in 2009, and he would shockingly make the opening day roster, making him the youngest player in Avalanche history.  As a rookie, O'Reilly had 26 Points, a number he would repeat the following season.  2011-12 would be a nice season for O'Reilly, who…