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A Series: Looking into Avalanche and Nordiques Player Numbers: Number 8

Sandis Ozolin
Sandis Ozolin
Brian Bahr, Getty Images

If #7 was a bit of a mixed bag quality-wise, #8 was chock full of solid players, the 6 players who have worn #8 for the Avs and Nordiques consist of 4 former 1st rounders and combined for a total of 4 Stanley Cups (only one with the Avalanche though). There is also an oddly international number with 1 player each from Canada, Latvia, Poland, Finland, the US and Czechoslovakia.

Marc Tardif - Tardif was a former #2 overall pick and played on two of the early Canadiens Cup teams in the early 70s before moving to the Los Angeles Sharks in the WHA in 1973. The following season he was traded to the WHA Nordiques (fun fact, one of the players going the other way was Ben Guite's father, Pierre). Tardif was a prolific goal-scorer; in 7 WHA seasons his lowest goal total was 38 and his two best seasons were 71 goals and 65 goals (he led the league in scoring both years). He was 30 when the Nordiques joined the NHL and Tardif continued to score goals with 33, 29, 39 and 21-goal seasons. Talk about a different era: in 1981-82 he scored 70 points, just good enough for 7th on the team. He retired after the 82-83 season and the Nordiques retired his #8 in part for his terrific WHA seasons. Post NHL-merge, he played in 272 games for the Nordiques, with 116 goals, 128 assists and 154 penalty minutes with a -32 +/-.

Sandis Ozolinsh - When the Nordiques moved to Denver, they decided to return their 4 retired numbers into circulation (3, JC Tremblay, 8 Tardif, 16 Michel Goulet, 26 Peter Stastny). As such, #8 was available to Ozolinsh when he was acquired for Owen Nolan in 1995. Ozo played in 333 games in Colorado - more than any of the other crazy eights - scoring 72 goals, 181 points, 271 penalty minutes and, believe it or not, a +19 rating. Oh, and we won a Stanley Cup. He was traded in 2000 to the Hurricanes for Nolan Pratt and a bunch of draft picks that never amounted to much (Nedorost, Aulin, Saviels). The 40-year old is still playing hockey; he's currently with the KHL's Oblast.

Teemu Selanne - In Selanne's 23-year career, he's had just one season where he's averaged less than .5 points per game. Yes, that would be 2003-2004, his one and only season in Denver. Selanne had 16 goals and 16 assists over 78 games that year. Selanne missed the following season to knee surgery (while the rest of us missed the following season to Gary Fucking Bettman). The year off was a boon to Teemu - he scored 40 goals the first year back from the lockout and won a Cup with Anaheim the following year.

Wojtek Wolski - Along with Ozolinsh, Wolski is the only other player to pass the 300-NHL-game mark wearing #8 for the franchise. Woslski played in 302 games, with 73 goals, 120 assists, +8 and 81 penalty minutes. Wolski was better than most people remember him (averaging 52 points per 80 games) but not as good as he was expected to be. At the 2010 deadline, he was traded to Phoenix for Kevin Porter and Peter Mueller.

Kevin Shattenkirk - The 4th 1st rounder on the list, Shattenkirk was traded in his rookie year in the deal for Erik Johnson. Shattenkirk played just 46 games in an Avalanche uniform. He notched 26 points and was a -11.

Jan Hejda - Hejda will start his 2nd season with the Avs when this ridiculous lockout is over. In his first year, he played in 81 games, scoring 5 goals, 14 assists, 24 penalty minutes and was a -17.

As I said, it's an interesting mix. Six talented players but only three have played in more than one season for the franchise.