COLORADO’S ALL-TIME DRAFT TEAM: NORDIQUES DOMINATE CLASS

We’re now 25 years removed from the Quebec Nordiques – and they were around just 16 seasons before shifting to Colorado – but it’s mostly players drafted by La belle province who dominate the franchise’s all-draft team

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche have been around a lot longer than the NHL-version of the Quebec Nordiques but it’s the franchise-forerunner which dominates the all-time all-draft team, by a margin of 13-7.

The primary reason for that is because the Nordiques floundered for a lot of their 16 seasons in the NHL and as a result wound up with a lot of high draft picks, including three straight first overall selections. The Avalanche, on the other hand, have been largely a success since the franchise moved to Colorado in 1995 and have hit the quarter-century mark in lifespan.

The franchise’s all-draft team is incredibly deep down the middle with Hall of Famers Joe Sakic, Mats Sundin and Eric Lindros centring the top three lines. That bumps borderline Hall of Fame Dale Hunter to the fourth line. Because of that depth, we decided to take advantage of Ryan O’Reilly’s versatility and move him to the left wing where he plays on the third line. Not making our squad at centre are Paul Stastny, Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon. It was an incredibly tough call leaving MacKinnon off, but he’s only seven years into his career and will surely crack this lineup within a few years.

Colorado’s all-draft team is loaded on the wings with marksmen like Michel Goulet, Owen Nolan and Milan Hejduk as well as play makers Alex Tanguay and Chris Drury.

There are no true superstars or even Hall of Famers on the blue line, but this corps would do an outstanding job helping to keep the puck out of the net. The first pair consists of rock-solid, shutdown specialists Robyn Regehr and Adam Foote. They’re both punishing in their own end and rank among the top few defensive defencemen of their era. Jeff Brown and Kevin Shattenkirk can ably man the power-play point, while Curtis Leschyshyn and Tommy Albelin are two more defensive aces.

Jocelyn and Thibault and Ron Tugnutt share the crease. With the lineup they have in front of them, they wouldn’t see the puck nearly as much as they did in the NHL careers.

Information includes draft year, draft position, amateur team and NHL stats (games-goals-assists-points; W-L-OTL, GAA, SP)

CENTRE

Joe Sakic – 1987, 15th overall, Swift Current (WHL) (1,378-625-1,016-1,641)

Mats Sundin – 1989, 1st overall, Nacka (Swe.) (1,346-564-785-1,349)

Eric Lindros – 1991, 1st overall, Oshawa (OHL) (760-372-493-865)

Dale Hunter – 1979, 41st overall, Sudbury (OHL) (1,407-323-697-1,020)

LEFT WING

Michel Goulet – 1979, 20th overall, Birmingham (WHA) (1,089-548-605-1,153)

Alex Tanguay – 1998, 12th overall, Halifax (QMJHL) (1,088-283-580-863)

Ryan O’Reilly – 2009, 33rd overall, Erie (OHL) (804-195-365-560)

Gabriel Landeskog – 2011, 2nd overall, Kitchener (OHL) (633-198-262-460)

RIGHT WING

Owen Nolan – 1990, 1st overall, Cornwall (OHL) (1,200-422-463-885)

Milan Hejduk – 1994, 87th overall, Pardubice (Cze.) (1,020-375-430-805)

Chris Drury – 1994, 72th overall, Boston U. (HE) (892-255-360-615)

Radim Vrbata – 1999, 212th overall, Hull (QMJHL) (1,057-284-339-623)

DEFENCE

Robyn Regehr – 1998, 19th overall, Kamloops (WHL) (1,089-36-163-199)

Adam Foote – 1989, 22nd overall, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) (1,154-66-242-308)

Jeff Brown – 1984, 36th overall, Sudbury (OHL) (747-154-430-584)

Kevin Shattenkirk – 2007, 14th overall, Boston U. (HE) (679-83-300-383)

Tommy Albelin – 1983, 152nd overall, Djurgarden (Swe.) (952-44-211-255)

Curtis Leschyshyn – 1988, 3rd overall, Saskatoon (WHL) (1.033-47-165-212)

GOALIES

Jocelyn Thibault – 1993, 10th overall, Sherbrooke (QMJHL) (238-238-75, 2.75, .904)

Ron Tugnutt – 1986, 81st overall, Peterborough (OHL) (186-239-62, 3.05, .895)