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A Series: Looking into Avalanche and Nordiques Player Numbers: Number 15

Andrew Brunette
Andrew Brunette
Gregory Shamus, Getty

We're back with another giant basket of meh today, this time covering former Avs and Nords who wore #15. Let's jump right in, shall we?

Curt Brackenbury - the winger was a 6-year veteran of the WHA and was with the Nordiques when they made the jump to the premiere league. Brackenbury was with Quebec in the NHL for one season, wearing #15. He played in 63 games, 6 goals, 8 assists, -21, 55 penalty minutes. He was claimed on waivers by the Oilers in 1980.

Miroslav Frycer - I'm reasonably certain that I've never heard of Miroslav Frycer until now. The Czech forward joined the Nordiques in 1981 and played in 49 games wearing #15 scoring 24 goals (solid), 23 assists, -19 and 78 penalty minutes. Quebec was so impressed that they traded him at the deadline for Wilf Paiment.

Richard David - Well, he has a great last name, that's for sure. David had a couple of short stints with the Nordiques in 1979 and 1981 wearing #27. That was also Wilf Paiment's number, so when the Noriduqes traded for him, David switched to #15. The winger played in 31 games total, netting 8 points.

Jean-Francois Sauve - J.F. Sauve is the younger brother of former goalie Bob Sauve (which means he's the uncle of Philippe Sauve). The diminutive (5'6") forward was acquired from Buffalo in 1983 along with Andre Savard and Tony McKegney. In four seasons with Quebec, Sauve played in 192 games, scoring 41 goals, 89 assists, -2 and 47 making him the highest scorer on the list so far, wearing #15 for 3 years and #14 for one. His son, Maxime, is a prospect in the Bruins' system.

Jason Lafreniere - Lafreniere made his debut in the 86-87 season wearing #15 and changed to #10 his second (and last) year with Quebec. He was traded to the Rangers after his second season. For the Nordiques, he played in 96 games, scoring 23 goals, 24 assists, -4 and a non-violent 12 penalty minutes.

Alan Haworth - Haworth played just one season in Quebec, playing in 72 games and scoring 23 goals, 24 assists, -5 and 112. However, that's not to say that he isn't an extremely important part of the team's history. First, he was acquired in 1987 from the Capitals. The Capitals got Clint Malarchuk and Dale Hunter while the Nordiques got Haworth, Gaetan Duchesne and a 1st round draft pick which turned out to be Joe Sakic. Haworth bolted for Switzerland after one year in Quebec but he wasn't done shaping the team. In 1991, the NHL, which is totally not run by idiots, held an expansion draft for the new San Jose Sharks. Except, it wasn't a regular expansion draft. See, the Sharks owners were the old Minnesota North Stars owners; they weren't allowed to move the North Stars, so instead were allowed to sell the team, buy an expansion team which they would stock from some players from Minnesota. After that, Minnesota and San Jose grabbed players from the other teams in an expansion draft (ps, the new North Stars owner moved them a year later anyway. Slick move, NHL!). In this expansion draft, the North Stars drafted Guy Lafleur from the Nordiques. Guy had already planned to retire and already had a front office job lined up with Quebec. But league bylaws prohibited teams from hiring players for front office jobs that they didn't have the rights too. So, to make things easy, Quebec traded the rights to Haworth to the North Stars for Lafleur. Haworth elected to stay in Switzerland (haha).

Dean Hopkins - Hopkins was drafted by the Kings in the 2nd round of the 1979 draft, a draft that featured 5 future Hall of Famers (Mike Gartner, Ray Bourque, Michel Goulet, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson). Hopkins was not one of them - he played 4 years in LA and then spent most of the rest of his career in the minors. He was signed by the Nordiques in 1988 and played in 5 NHL games for them.

Darin Kimble - Kimble had over 1,000 penalty minutes in 311 NHL games. He spent parts of 3 seasons in Quebec playing in 105 games and scoring 10 goals, 11 assists -30 jibbles and 448 freaking penalty minutes. In 1991, he was traded to St Louis for 3 players, including...

Tony Twist - after being acquired for Kimble, Twist assumed the role of beating the snot out of people while wearing #15 for the Nordiques. Twist played in 151 games for Quebec, scoring no goals (I dare you to tease him about it), 7 assists, -8 and 433 penalty minutes. He returned to St Louis as a free agent after 4 seasons in Quebec.

Dave Karpa - another tough guy, defenseman Dave Karpa, doesn't really belong on the list. He wore #59 for his 1st 3 seasons in Quebec. He changed to #15 for the 94-95 season, but was traded after playing just two games. Should have stayed with 59.

Bill Huard - continuing the string of enforcers wearing #15, Bill Huard was acquired from Ottawa in April of 1995 and played just 7 games for Quebec. He would have been the first guy to wear #15 for the Avs, but was claimed on waivers by the Stars just before the 1995-96 season.

Josef Marha - and so ends the string of bruisers - Marha had just 32 penalty minutes in his 159 game NHL career. And he doesn't really belong here anyway, as he played just 2 games wearing #15. His second year, he switched to #10 and the rest is...well, history is a strong word. He's still playing hockey, by the way. He's on HC Davos in the Swiss league - the team that Rick Nash and Joe Thornton are playing on.

Yves Sauralt - Sauralt signed with the Avalanche in 1996 and played parts of two seasons in Colorado wearing #15. In total, he played 30 games for the Avs, scoring 3 goals and an assists.

Ted Crowley - Ted Crowley was a career minor league defenseman that the Avalanche signed in 1998. He played in 7 games and the Avs traded him to the Islanders at the deadline for Mike Gaul.

Mike Gaul - Gaul was a career minor league defenseman who played in 3 NHL games, 1 with the Avalanche in the 98-99 season.

Brian Rolston - In 1999, the Avalanche traded Claude Lemieux and some picks to the Devils for Brian Rolston and a draft pick. Rolston played 50 games for the Avalanche, scoring 8 goals and 10 assists, before getting moved at the deadline in the Ray Bourque deal.

Brad Larsen - Brad Larsen spent 6 seasons bouncing between the Avalanche and the Hershey Bears. He played one game in 97-98 wearing number 40. The next time he got the call was the 2000-2001 season and 40 was taken by Alex Tanguay, so he went with #9. Three years later, the Avalanche signed Paul Kariya, prompting Larsen to change again, this time to #15. In total, he played in 92 games, scoring 4 goals, 12 assists, +10 and 60 penalty minutes. He's currently the head coach of the AHL Springfield Falcons.

Andrew Brunette - It only took about 20 years, but finally someone eclipsed JF Sauve's numbers for #15. He played 3 solid years in Colorado, 246 games, 70 goals, 135 assists, +6 and 98 penalty minutes. Fun Bruno fact: he's changed teams 6 times in his career but has only been traded once. In 1999 he was traded from Nashville to Atlanta for a 5th round pick; that pick would turn out to be Matt Hendricks.

Matt Hendricks - Speaking of Matt Hendricks, he's the most recent Avalanche to wear #15 at least until P.A. Parenteau gets on the ice for Colorado. Hendricks wore #53 during his 4-game stint in 2008-2009, then changed to #15 for the next season. After 60 games, 9 goals, 16 assists, +2 and 87 penalty minutes, Hendricks was low-balled out of town.

So, who wore it best? Sauve? Bruno? Kimble? Hendricks?