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I know what you're thinking. Tyler Arnason is #39; everyone else is just a pretender. But, we need to go through the motions here, regardless of how pale everyone else is in comparison.
Ken McRae - We covered McRae for the #12 entry - he wore #39 for just one game in 87-88. The rest of his Nordiques career was a douzey.
Serge Roberge - Roberge played until his late 30s - AHL, IHL, UHL, Quebec Senior League, etc. He notched more than 5,000 penalty minutes in 1,000 games, so he definitely put in the work. Or maybe people would make funny rhymes out of his name, enraging him into taking a penalty. He played just 9 NHL games, all with the Nordiques during the 90-91 season.
Ville Nieminen - Ville the Thrill wore number Arnason during his first two seasons with the Avs, including the 2001 Cup season. He played in 51 games with 14 goals, 8 assists a +8 rating and 38 penalty minutes. The following season he changed to #10 and the angry equipment manager lobbied to have him traded. He left in March along with Rick Berry in the deal for Darius Kasparitus. He's still playing, currently suiting up in the Finnish league and the Eurolanche gang just interviewed him recently.
Jeff Paul - Paul was a big defenseman originally drafted by the Hawks in 1996. He bounced around with a lot of different franchises, but his only NHL action was 2 games with the Avs in the 02-03 season (0 points, 1 fight). Like Roberge, he racked up a lot of penalty minutes in his travels, which included stints in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
Tyler Arnason - Why do we love Tyler Arnason so? Is it the penetrating stare? Is it the fact that he scored more than 10% of his career points against the Oilers? Is it that he's one of the few NHL players born in Oklahoma? Is it is reported penchant for strip clubs? Or his complete aversion to defense or contact of any kind on the ice? Personally, what always fascinated me about Arnason was how utterly passionless he appeared to be about the game. He had skill - 102 points in 223 games with the Avalanche. But his existence with the team always seemed so...joyless. Win or lose, score or don't score, Arnason always seemed as if his emotion had been sucked out by leeches. It never failed to fascinate me. So many people would love to be playing hockey for a living. Heck, we've chronicled a lot of players who worked at it for YEARS just to get a brief shot. Accurate or not, Arnie never seemed to give a fuck about that.
TJ Galiardi - The Teej wore #43 during his 11 game callup during the 08-09 season before deciding he needed to be Arnified. He wore #39 during the rest of his stay in Denver, including the 2010 playoffs that we love to overrate around here. Wearing #39, he played 160 games for the Avs, 30 goals, 38 points, -6 and 87 penalty minutes. He was traded to the Sharks last year and is under contract with them this year (thanks, Gary). He played for a bit in Germany, but after injuring his knee he's back in North America.
All joking aside, Arnason probably really IS the best to wear #39. However, Galiardi and Nieminen deserve to be in the discussion as well.
Who wore #39 Best?
Ville Nieminen (59 votes)
Tyler Arnason (51 votes)
TJ Galiardi (59 votes)
169 total votes