A Series: Looking into Avalanche and Nordiques Player Numbers, Number 45

Chris Durno - Joel Auerbach, Getty Images

We continue our jersey series with #45. Six players - two Nordiques and four Avs have worn the number. With no disrespect meant to any of the six, we're at the point now where we should call this "Who Wore It?" and not "Who Wore It Best?". Okay, enough with the introductions.

Mark Vermette - Vermette, a forward, played 67 games with the Nordiques over 4 seasons in the late-80s, early 90s. Who wore 3 different numbers - 10, 27 and, for his final 10-game season, #45. The former college hockey star put up solid numbers in the minors (42 goals one season), but had just 5 goals in his NHL career.

Mike McKee - McKee is a defenseman drafted by the Nordiques in the 1990 supplemental draft (sorry, I have absolutely no recollection as to what a supplemental draft is). He played one season with the Nordiques, 48 games in 1993-94. He scored a respectable 15 points and was +5, but that was it for the NHL. He played one more year in the AHL and then retired.

Rick Berry - Rick Berry is a defenseman who played for the Avalanche during the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 seasons. He may also have the distinction of being the only former player to follow us on Twitter, but we've been unable to verify that at press time (that he's the only one, not that he follows us; we're not that dense). Berry wore #45 during his 19-game rookie stint and then switched to a more permanent-like #6 for the following year. As if on cue, the Avs traded him and his permanent number (and Ville Nieminen too!) to the Penguins for Darius Kasparaitis. Berry's recently was interviewed by the gang at Eurolanche and it is worth the read.

Jeff Daw - Daw had a nice, long, minor-league career but only appeared in one NHL game, with the Avalanche on January 30th, 2002. I'm sure Daw has a nice memory from the game, though, as he did get an assist on a goal by Joe Sakic. And the 2nd assist on the goal was by Patrick Roy. I hope he kept the puck.

Steve Brule - Brule is an interesting story. He was drafted by the Devils in 1993, and spent 6 years putting up good numbers for their AHL affiliate, but he couldn't ever crack the big boy roster. In the 2000 Stanley Cup Finals, Brule was one of the practice squad players with the Devils and when Scott Gomez missed a game, Brule got the call. It was his first NHL game, but since it was a Finals game, it was enough to land his name on the puck when the Devils won. In 2002, he signed with the Avalanche and made the team out of camp, finally making his first regular season appearance. After two games, though, he was sent down to the AHL and never returned (ominous music). Brule ultimately went overseas and as recently as last year was playing in the Quebec league.

Chris Durno - Chris Durno is an undrafted player who bounced around with a couple of organizations, at one point moved in a trade involving P.A. Parenteau. The Avalanche signed his as a free agent in 2008. He spent most of that season in the minors, but spent half the season with the parent club in 2009-10. In total, Durno appeared in 43 games with the Avs, scoring 8 points and was a +3. He also achieved accolades from Down Goes Brown, so that's nice. He's since had stints in the Lightning and Hurricane organizations and is currently playing in Italy.

And there's the 45s for you. A nice group of guys, but no superstars. But they all did something you and I didn't - they played in an NHL game (and two played on Cup winners!).

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