clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Where are they now? Former Avs still chasing the 2015 Stanley Cup

A number of former Avalanche players are still in the hunt this year, here's a look at where you'll find familiar faces in this years playoffs.

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

While all the current Avs are headed for the golf courses, there are a number of former Avalanche players who will continue their quest for the Stanley Cup this spring.  Here's a look around the NHL at which former Avs are still playing:

The Western Conference:

St. Louis Blues (1) vs Minnesota Wild (4):

The St. Louis Blues lead the way with 3 former Avalanche players all playing significant roles on the Blues roster.  Up front Paul Stastny is in his first year with the Blues after 8 years with the Colorado Avalanche.  Stastny scored 16 goals and 46 points in 74 regular season games.  On the blueline, Kevin Shattenkirk missed a significant piece of the season with injury, but still scored an impressive 44 points in 56 games.  Shattenkirk is in his 5th season with the Blues after the Avalanche traded him part-way through his rookie season.  Last and certainly least (at least when it comes to Avalanche careers) is goaltender Brian Elliott.  Elliott was horrific in his 1 partial season with the Avalanche, but behind the Blues defense he's resurrected his career while splitting time with rookie Jake Allen.

At this year's NHL Trade Deadline the Minnesota Wild went out and acquired a few former Avalanche players for their playoff run.  After a disappointing year in Buffalo, Chris Stewart was reinvigorated by his trade to the Wild and finished the season with 3 goals and 11 points in 25 games.  Stewart spent parts of three seasons with the Avalanche and put together his best (and only) 60 point season in Colorado.  The Wild also acquired depth defenseman Jordan Leopold from the Columbus Blue Jackets.  Leopold's time with the Avalanche was brief and marred by injuries, but he's been healthy for the Wild at the end of this season.

Nashville Predators (2) vs Chicago Blackhawks (3):

Just one former Avalanche player in this series, Kyle Cumiskey.  Cumiskey spent parts of 5 seasons with the Avalanche, Lake Erie Monsters, and even the Albany River Rats after Colorado drafted him in 2005.  After leaving the Avalanche organization and playing overseas for MODO, Cumiskey signed with the Blackhawks as a free agent.  Cumiskey suited up for 7 games with the cap-crunched Hawks, but now with the Blackhawks several million dollars over the salary cap this postseason, Cumiskey is unlikely to see time behind higher profile (and higher paid) defensemen like Kimmo Timmonen.

Also worth noting: rookie forward Filip Forsberg was selected with the 11th overall pick the Avalanche traded for goaltender Semyon Varlamov.

Anaheim Ducks (1) vs Winnipeg Jets (4):

At this year's NHL Trade Deadline, the Anaheim Ducks acquired winger Thomas Fleischmann from the Florida Panthers.  Fleischmann spent part of one season on the wing of Matt Duchene, racking up 21 points in 22 games before going down for the season with a pulmonary embolism.  The Avalanche did not retain Fleischmann after the injury.  Fleischmann had up-and-down numbers with the Florida Panthers but should provide some nice depth for the "Stanley Cup or Bust" Ducks.

On the other side of the ice, former Avalanche winger T.J. Galiardi will suit up for the Winnipeg Jets.  This is Galiardi's third team since the Avalanche traded him to the San Jose Sharks, and Galiardi has never regained the 30+ point production he showed in his sophomore season with the Avalanche.  This year Galiardi has 1 goal and no assists in 38 games with the Jets.

Vancouver Canucks (2) vs Calgary Flames (3):

Brad Richardson was a speedy and effective bottom six forward and penalty killer during his time with the Avalanche, and he's made a nice NHL career for himself with that skillset playing with the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks.  This is Richardson's second season with the Canucks and he had one of his most productive years in a while.  Richardson scored 8 goals and 21 points in just 45 games but suffered a few injuries including an ankle injury which has kept him out almost 1 month.  Richardson is expected to play in Game 1.  Edit: I knew I would miss someone, but I can't believe this is the one I missed.  Radim Vrbata spent the first two years of his NHL career with the Colorado Avalanche, scoring 30 points in 2002 and 2003 for the Avs.  Since then he's bounced around to 5 different teams including two seperate stints with the Coyotes.  This year, his first with the Canucks, Vrbata had the best year of his career, scoring 31 goals and 63 points (his previous best, 62 in 2012) while playing alongside the Sedins.

After a disappointing first season in Calgary, former Avalanche winger David Jones has had a nice rebound season for the Flames.  Jones has 14 goals and 30 points for the Flames this year, adding nice depth scoring to their lineup.  Jones spent parts of 6 seasons with the Avalanche before signing a 4x4 contract which would eventually doom him for the trade block.

The Eastern Conference

Montreal Canadiens (1) vs Ottawa Senators (4):

Most notably the Montreal Canadiens will dress former Avalanche forward P.A. Parenteau.  Parenteau of course, was part of a much debated offseason trade which sent the Avs top six winger and a draft pick to Montreal for the half-retired Daniel Briere.  Parenteau, however, hasn't flourished in Montreal.  He's had another injury plagued year and scored just 8 goals and 22 points in 56 games.  The Canadiens also hold former Avalanche prospect Michael Bournival.  Bournival, however, hasn't played a game for the Canadiens since February 28th and suffers from dizziness and post-concussion symptoms.

The lone former-Avalanche in Ottawa is goalie Craig Anderson.  Anderson was the hero of the Avs' 2010 campaign, but was traded in 2011 when he and the Avalanche disagreed on his future contract.  He's been an above average starter for the last 5 years in Ottawa, with flashes of greatness, but don't expect him to start in Ottawa this time around.  Despite a .923 season save percentage, Anderson had his starting job stolen by "The Hamburglar."  The Senators rode rookie phenom Andrew Hammond hard to get to the playoffs, and they'll undoubtably continue that in Round 1 against the Canadiens.

Tampa Bay Lighting (2) vs Detroit Red Wings (3):

The Tampa Bay Lightning don't hold any players who spent time with the Avalanche, but there are a few players of interest.  First up, backup goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was drafted by the Lighting with the pick they obtained by trading Steve Downie for the Avs' Kyle Quincey, then immediately flipping him to Detroit for a 1st round selection. (the Avs went on to turn Downie into Talbot and then Caron).  Second, the Lightning have defenseman Matt Carle.  While Carle was never associated with the Avalanche organization, he did spend two seasons with the University of Denver Pioneers and won a National Championship with Paul Stastny on the Pios.  Carle won a Hobey Baker in 2006 with the Pios before joining the San Jose Sharks for a dozen games at the end of the year.

Even though the rivalry has fizzled, you'll rarely catch the Avalanche and Red Wings doing business.  That brings us back to the Tampa Bay trade from above.  The Avalanche didn't do direct business with the Red Wings, but still sent Kyle Quincey to Detroit at the 2012 trade deadline.  Avs fans will surely remember Quincey for his... "less than graceful" remarks about leaving Colorado.  Now they can delight in his on-ice struggles, as he's never again hit 20 points since leaving the Mile High City and is a universal disappointment and scape-goat for Red Wings fans everywhere.

New York Rangers (1) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (4):

There was once a time when Avalanche fans believed that the worst thing that could happen to their defense was Matt Hunwick playing in it.  Now, just one year after being buried in the Avalanche's minor league system, Matt Hunwick has been a solid depth defenseman for the "Cup or Bust" New York Rangers.  Meanwhile Avs fans were left watching Nate Guenin and Brad Stuart be significantly worse hockey players, but that's neither here nor there.  Hunwick played 55 games for the Rangers this year, scoring 11 points and putting 72 shots on goal.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are sporting a pair of former Avalanche depth forwards in their quest for the Stanley Cup this season.  Noted grinder and insane person Steve Downie was brought into Pittsburgh this off season to provide grit and energy to the Penguins lineup and for better or worse, he did just that.  Downie earned a league leading 238 penalty minutes this season in just 71 games, Cody McLeod came in second place for that "prestigious" honor with 191 PIM's in a full 82 games played.  Despite spending so much time in the penalty box, Downie also managed to increase his offensive output, scoring 14 goals and 28 points this season.  The Penguins also worked to shore up their forward depth and possession play by acquiring former Av Daniel Winnik from the Toronto Maple Leafs at the trade deadline.  Winnik had 9 points in 21 games with the Penguins, adding up to 34 on the season, a career best for Winnik.

New York Islanders (2) vs Washington Capitals (3):

Once upon a time, the New York Islanders shiny new defensive rock was an Avalanche prospect.  Johnny Boychuk was a 2nd round pick of the Avalanche in 2002 and spent significant time in the Avs' minor league system, but was never able to break through with the big club.  Boychuck played just 4 games for the Avalanche (in 2008) before breaking onto the scene in 2010 with the Boston Bruins.  This season Boychuk has 9 goals and 35 points in 72 games while playing huge minutes for the Islanders.  He recently signed a 7-year extension to stay with the Islanders long term.

The Capitals... FINALLY a team with no former Avalanche connections.  No missed opportunities, no "what could have beens."  Just a completely distinct team with no former Avs talent.