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A Series: Looking into Avalanche and Nordiques Player Numbers: Number 21

Rick Stewart, Getty

Yeah, we don't really need to ask who was the best 21 for the franchise, but we don't have a ton of other stuff to do right now (thanks, Gary!). So, let's go through the motions, shall we?

Serge Bernier - The first of 8 players to wear #8 for the Nordiques was Serge Bernier. No, not that Serge. This one. He played 6 years for the WHA Nordiques and put up an assload of points. He was towards the end of his career when the Nordiques joined the League of Extraordinarily Greedy Fucks (NHL for short) and played 2 seasons after the merger, playing in 78 games and scoring 10 goals, 22 assists with 49 penalty minutes and a -18 rating.

Louis Slegher - We covered Sleigher in our #12 entry, as he wore #12, #21 and #28 for the Nordiques.

Randy Moller - The tough guy would probably win this category if not for the presence of Forsberg. Moller played with the Nordiques from 1982-1989 - 7 seasons in all - before being traded to the Rangers for Michel Petit. Moller appeared in 508 games, scoring 33 goals, 119 assists, +55 and a hearty 1002 penalty minutes for Quebec. He's currently the pbp guy for the Panthers. Well, not currently currently because you know (thanks Gary!).

Jamie Baker - Baker played just one game as a rookie in 1989 wearing #21. When he played again the following season, #21 was taken by the next guy on the list so Baker changed to #28.

Everett Sanipass - In 1990, the Nordiques traded Michel Goulet and Greg Millen to the Blackhawks for Mario Doyan, Dan Vincelette and Everett Sanipass. Sanipass, a Native Canadian, was a former 1st round pick but didn't do much in the NHL. In two seasons with Quebec, he dressed in 38 games, scoring 8 goals, 8 assists and 49 penalty minutes against a -19 rating before suffering a career-ending injury against the Flyers. He was involved in the infamous Punch-up in Piesty, a meeting between the Canadians and Soviets at the 1987 WJHC that resulted in a bench-clearing brawl that resulted in the refs leaving the ice and the lights being shut off in an effort to stop the fighting. The festivities began when Sanipass (#12 in the video) got involved with a Soviet player eventually escalating into mass pandemonium (the game was ultimately cancelled and both teams were tossed from the tournament). Three other future members of the Avalanche franchise played in the game: Mike Keane, Theo Fleury and Pierre Turgeon. Sanipass was critical of Turgeon, whom we called a "dog" for staying on the bench during the brawl and not coming to the aid of his teammates.

John Tonelli - Tonelli was at the tail end of a solid NHL career (4 Cups) when he was traded to the Nordiques for future considerations in February of 1992. Sadly, Tonelli was no longer sporting his amazing mustache at this point in his career, so we can only judge his merits on the 6 points in 19 games he managed with Quebec. He hung up the skates after the season.

Stephane Charbonneau - Charbonneau was the last player before Forsberg to wear #21. He appeared in just 2 NHL games, both with Quebec in the 91-92 season.

Peter Forsberg - Well, this one needs no explanation, right? Forsberg was one of the big assets of the Eric Lindros trade. He signed with Quebec in the fall of 93 and the following summer decided to come to the NHL but - and stop me if you've heard this before - the NHL had some sort of lockout that year. I know, right? Once the Lockout I ended, Forsberg made his debut for the Nordiques, scoring 50 points in 47 games and becoming one of four Calder Trophy winners for the franchise. He must have done some other cool stuff after that as well, because his #21? Yeah, people can't wear it anymore.