Looking Back: Avs Trade Deadline Day History

Being a fan of the Colorado Avalanche around this time of year has not been for the faint of heart. Former GM (and current team president) Pierre Lacroix has never been terribly shy about pulling the trigger on a trade that he feels will improve his club’s chances. Today, we take a look back at some of the bigger moves Lacroix and his “replacements” Francois Giguere and Greg Sherman have made around the trade deadline, and some of the positives and negatives that resulted.

1995-96: Colorado acquires Dave Hannan from the Buffalo Sabres for a 6th round pick.

  • Positives: Hannan only played 4 regular season games for the Avs, but provided valuable depth in the playoffs and played 13 postseason games for the eventual Stanley Cup champions.
  • Negatives: Hannan’s solid play erroneously convinced Lacroix that any time a player with the last name “Hannan” became available, Lacroix should sign him no matter how ridiculous the cost.

1997-98: Colorado acquires Tom Fitzgerald from Florida for the rights to Mark Parrish and a 3rd round pick.

  • Positives: Fitzgerald was a key player for the Cinderella Florida Panthers of two years prior, and provided a veteran presence.
  • Negatives: Fitzgerald was so disappointed that Avs fans don’t throw rats on the ice after scoring goals, he decided not to score any during a 7 game playoff loss to Edmonton.

1998-99: Colorado acquires Theoren Fleury and Chris Dingman from Calgary for Rene Corbet, Robyn Regehr, Wade Belak, and a 2nd round pick.

  • Positives: The effects of Denver’s high altitude had little impact on Fleury, due to the diminutive winger being approximately 15 feet closer to sea level than his normal-sized teammates.
  • Negatives: Colorado gave up Robyn Regehr in the deal, who certainly didn’t come back to haunt the Avs in any way, shape, or form during the subsequent 12 seasons he spent as a divisional rival continuously pounding on Colorado’s top-line players or anything.

1999-2000: Colorado acquires Ray Bourque and Dave Andreychuk from Boston for Brian Rolston, Sami Pahlsson, Martin Grenier, and a first round pick.

  • Positives: Bourque was one of the biggest trade deadline prizes to be captured in years, eventually fulfilling his destiny and winning the Stanley Cup in his final season in the NHL.
  • Negatives: Every player that’s been traded to Colorado since Bourque that spent longer than 25 minutes with the team now expects to have his number retired too.

2000-01: Colorado acquires Rob Blake and Steven Reinprecht from Los Angeles for Adam Deadmarsh, Aaron Miller, a first round pick, and a player to be named later.

  • Positives: Rob Blake and his giant ass gave the Avs two dominant defensive pairings, and was the final piece to the championship puzzle en route to the franchise’s second Stanley Cup.
  • Negatives: Seeing Adam Deadmarsh in another team’s jersey periodically shows up in my nightmares.

2001-02: Colorado acquires Darius Kasparaitis from Pittsburgh for Ville Nieminen and Rick Berry.

  • Positives: Kasparaitis brought a fearsome presence to the Avs’ blueline, and was surprisingly the team’s best defenseman throughout their 21-game playoff run.
  • Negatives: The Avalanche have been unable to replace the high quality Joker Smile that Ville Nieminen brought to the table. That guy is wasting his life if he’s not dressing in purple velour every day.

2002-03: Colorado acquires Bates Battaglia from Carolina for Radim Vrbata.

  • Positives: Uh…well…give me a second on this one. How about a few more seconds? Oh yeah, Colorado turned the useless Battaglia into grimy veteran beast Steve Konowalchuk early the following season. Loved that guy.
  • Negatives: Every time I think of the fact that the Avalanche could have had Radim Vrbata playing alongside Paul Stastny for the past few seasons, I cry my own tears.

2003-04: Colorado acquires Chris Gratton, Ossi Vaananen, and a 2nd round pick for Derek Morris and Keith Ballard.

  • Positives: That second round pick turned into the aforementioned Paul Stastny. So there’s that.
  • Negatives: Watching Colorado cut the cord with the final link to the disastrous Chris Drury trade closed the book on what was the beginning of the end of the Avalanche mini-dynasty. Yes, I’m still bitter about the Drury trade. No, I won’t ever not be bitter about the Drury trade.

2005-06: Colorado acquires Jim Dowd from Chicago for a 4th round pick.

  • Positives: Dowd only had to walk down the hallway to join his new team, as the Avs and Hawks were playing one another that evening.
  • Negatives: People whose first and last names add up to a total of two syllables give me the heebie-jeebies. Circus freaks.

2006-07: Colorado acquires Scott Parker from San Jose for a 6th round pick.

  • Positives: Having Parker back in town allowed the Avs’ skill players greater freedom to roam the ice, without fear of cheapshots or excessively hard play, since other teams knew they would have to answer to The Sheriff.
  • Negatives: That entire last sentence was a complete and utter lie, so now I’m a liar. Seriously, does anybody REALLY believe that enforcer crap?

2007-08: Colorado acquires Adam Foote from Columbus for a 1st and a 4th round pick.

  • Positives: Bringing Foote back to town righted one of the wrongs resulting from the lockout, as the Avs didn’t want to lose Foote and Foote never wanted to leave Colorado.
  • Negatives: Columbus fans played the part of the jilted ex with amateurish aplomb. Hey, at least they finally got to feel like a real fan base, with Foote being a villain they can call their very own.

2008-09: Colorado acquires Ryan Wilson, Lawrence Nycholat, and a 2nd round pick from Calgary for Jordan Leopold.

  • Positives: Ryan Wilson turned into a serviceable defenseman that remains on the roster today. “Lawrence Nycholat” is a cool name.
  • Negatives: I had to write “Jordan Leopold”, which always reminds me that the Avs traded a prime Alex Tanguay for Jordan Leopold. Seriously, who the hell was vetting these trades???

2009-10: Colorado acquires Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter from Phoenix for Wojtek Wolski.

  • Positives: A classic case of “Sell High”, as Mueller (when healthy) is a dangerous player with deft scoring touch, and a good addition to the Avs’ lineup. Wolski subsequently skipped from Phoenix to New York, and yesterday was sent packing to Florida. There’s still another day til the deadline, which doesn’t rule out that Wolski will be traded yet again.
  • Negatives: This trade brought me my current Avs whipping boy: Kevin Porter. Every time I watch Porter, I think of the famous line from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”: “He worked really hard, Grandpa!” “So do washing machines.”

2010-11: Colorado acquires Erik Johnson, Jay McClement, and a 1st round pick from St. Louis for Chris Stewart, Kevin Shattenkirk, and a 2nd round pick.

  • Positives: I’m convinced that Erik Johnson is going to become another Rob Blake, which is a piece that 95% of NHL teams just don’t have. McClement is the high-end defensive centerman/penalty killer the Avs have lacked since Stephane Yelle was dealt to Calgary in 2002 (Drury Trade, god help me). The first rounder turned into Duncan Siemens, who shows the qualities of a potential shutdown defenseman a few years down the line.
  • Negatives: I like Chris Stewart alot. It sucks to see him struggling in St. Louis.

Now, the trade deadline of 2011-12 is upon us, in approximately 27 hours. Rumors between now and then will drive us crazy, scare us and give us hope. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years I’ve followed this team, it’s to expect the unexpected. I will say that behind Opening Night and the start of the playoffs, this is my favorite time of hockey season. I don’t expect the Avs to have any major shake-ups in store for us tomorrow, but then again, who saw the EJ/Stewart trade coming? Who thought we would sneak Ray Bourque out of Detroit’s clutches? 

How about you, Avs fans? Which of these deals blew you away? Which ones did you see coming from a mile away? And what’s in store for us tomorrow?




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  1. Jay Vean says:

    Well done Sir! Even though you called me a circus freak. Linking this up in many places right now. You deserve it.