How Western Conference champion Colorado Avalanche were built

How Western Conference champion Colorado Avalanche were built

Two players who have played at least one game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season have previously won the Stanley Cup: forwards Andre Burakovsky (2018, Washington Capitals) and Darren Helm (2008, Detroit Red Wings).

Of the 23 to play at least one postseason game, 11 were acquired via trade, six were selected by Colorado in the NHL Draft, five were signed in free agency and one was acquired via waivers.

Here’s how the roster of this Stanley Cup finalist was built with background on the coaching staff and general manager:

 

[RELATED: Complete Avalanche vs. Oilers series coverage]

 

FORWARDS

Nicolas Aube-Kubel, RW: Claimed off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 13, Aube-Kubel had 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 67 regular-season games for Colorado and has no points in 12 playoff games.

Andre Burakovsky, LW: Acquired in a trade with the Capitals on June 28, 2019 for forward Scott Kosmachuk and second- and third-round picks in the 2020 NHL Draft, Burakovsky had 61 points (22 goals, 39 assists) in 80 regular-season games and has five points (one goal, four assists) in 10 playoff games.

Andrew Cogliano, C: Acquired from the San Jose Sharks on March 21 for a fifth-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, Cogliano had 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in 74 regular-season games, including one assist in 18 games for Colorado. He has three points (two goals, one assists) in 11 playoff games.

J.T. Compher, LW: Acquired from the Buffalo Sabres on June 26, 2015 with defenseman Nikita Zadorov, forward Mikhail Grigorenko and a second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft for forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn, Compher had an NHL career-high 33 points (18 goals, 15 assists) in 70 regular season games and has seven points (five goals, two assists) in 14 playoff games.

Darren Helm, C: Signed as a free agent on July 29, 2021, Helm had 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 68 regular-season games and has two points (one goal, one assist) in 14 playoff games.

Nazem Kadri, C: Acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1, 2019 with defenseman Calle Rosen and a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft for defenseman Tyson Barrie, forward Alexander Kerfoot and a sixth-round pick in the 2020 draft, Kadri had an NHL career-high 87 points (28 goals, 59 assists) in 71 regular-season games and has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 13 playoff games. He was injured in Game 3 against the Oilers and his status for the Cup Final is not known.

Gabriel Landeskog, LW: Selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, Landeskog had 59 points (30 goals, 29 assists) in 51 regular-season games and has 17 points eight goals, nine assists) in 14 playoff games. He has been the Avalanche captain for the past 10 seasons.

Artturi Lehkonen, LW: Acquired from the Montreal Canadiens on March 21 for defenseman prospect Justin Barron and a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, Lehkonen had 38 points (19 goals, 19 assists) in 74 regular-season games, including nine points (six goals, three assists) in 16 games for Colorado. He has 11 points six goals, five assists) in 14 playoff games and scored at 1:19 of overtime of Game 4 to clinch the conference final.

Nathan MacKinnon, C: Selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, MacKinnon had 88 points (32 goals, 56 assists) in 65 regular-season games and has 18 points (11 goals, seven assists) in 14 playoff games 

Alex Newhook, C: Selected with the No. 16 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Newhook had 33 points (13 goals, 20 assists) in 71 regular-season games and has two assists in six playoff games.

Valeri Nichushkin, RW: Signed as a free agent Aug. 19, 2019, Nichushkin had NHL career-highs in goals (25), assists (27) and points (52) in 62 regular-season games and has nine points (five goals, four assists) in 14 playoff games.

Logan O’Connor, RW: Signed as a free agent July 23, 2018, O’Connor had 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists) in 81 regular-season games and has three points (one goal, two assists) in 11 playoff games.

Mikko Rantanen, RW: Selected with the No. 10 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Rantanen led the Avalanche with an NHL career-high 92 points (36 goals, 56 assists) in 75 regular-season games and has 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 14 playoff games.

Nico Sturm, C: Acquired from the Minnesota Wild on March 15 for forward Tyson Jost, Sturm had 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 74 regular-season games, including three assists in 21 games for Colorado. He has one assist in seven playoff games.

 

DEFENSEMEN

Bowen Byram: Selected by Colorado with the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Byram had 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 30 regular-season games and has seven assists in 14 playoff games.

Samuel Girard: Acquired from the Nashville Predators on Nov. 5, 2017 with forward Vladislav Kamenev and a second-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft for forward Kyle Turris, Girard had 28 points (five goals, 23 assists) in 67 regular-season games and three points (one goal, two assists) in seven playoff games. Girard broke his sternum in the second round against the St. Louis Blues and was ruled out for the remainder of the playoffs.

Erik Johnson: Acquired from the Blues on Feb. 18, 2011 with forward Jay McClement and a first-round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, forward Chris Stewart and a second-round pick in the 2011 draft, Johnson had 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) in 77 regular-season games and has five points (one goal, four assists) in 14 playoff games.

Jack Johnson: Signed as a free agent Oct. 10, 2021, Johnson had nine points (one goal, eight assists) in 74 regular-season games and has no points in seven playoff games.

Cale Makar : Selected with the No. 4 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Makar had NHL career-highs in goals (28) assists (58) and points (86) in 77 regular-season games and has 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 14 playoff games. He had a goal and four assists in Game 4 of the conference final, becoming the first defenseman in NHL history with five points in a series-clinching game.

Josh Manson: Acquired from the Anaheim Ducks on March 14 for defenseman prospect Drew Helleson and a second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, Manson had 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 67 regular-season games, including seven points (two goals, five assists) in 22 games for Colorado. He has six points (two goals, four assists) in 14 playoff games.

Devon Toews: Acquired from the New York Islanders on Oct. 12, 2020 for a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft and a second-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, Toews had NHL career-highs in goals (13), assists (44) and points (57) in 66 regular-season games and has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 14 playoff games.

 

GOALIES

Pavel Francouz: Signed as a free agent May 2, 2018, Francouz was 15-5-1 with a 2.55 goals-against average, .916 save percentage and two shutouts in 21 regular-season games (18 starts) and is 6-0 with a 2.86 GAA, .906 save percentage and one shutout in six playoff games (four starts).

Darcy Kuemper: Acquired from the Arizona Coyotes on July 28 for defenseman Connor Timmins, a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft and a conditional pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, Kuemper was 37-12-4 with a 2.54 GAA, .921 save percentage and five shutouts in 57 regular-season games and is 6-2 with a 2.65 GAA and .897 save percentage in 10 playoff games. He has not played since sustaining an upper-body injury at 12:41 of the second period in Game 1 of the conference final.

Video: COL@EDM, Gm4: Avalanche accept Clarence Campbell Bowl

 

COACHING STAFF

Jared Bednar, coach: Hired on Aug. 25, 2016 to replace Patrick Roy, Bednar guided the Avalanche to the best record in the Western Conference (56-19-7) and the most wins and points (119) in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history. He’s 240-168-46 in the regular season and Colorado has qualified for the playoffs in five of his six seasons.

Ray Bennett, assistant: Hired on July 7, 2017, Bennett previously was an assistant with the Blues for 10 seasons (2007-17) and the Kings for seven seasons (1999-2006).

Nolan Pratt, assistant: Hired on July 15, 2016, Pratt previously was an assistant with Lake Erie of the American Hockey League for five seasons and Springfield (AHL) from 2011-16. He and Bednar were assistants for Springfield during the 2012-13 season.

Jussi Parkkila, goaltending coach: Hired on July 7, 2017, Parkkila coached goalies in Europe for 12 seasons, five in the Kontinental Hockey League and two seasons in Liiga, the top professional league in Finland.

 

GENERAL MANAGER

Joe Sakic: Hired as an executive adviser in 2011, Sakic was promoted to his current role of executive vice president of hockey operations May 10, 2013 and replaced Greg Sherman as general manager Sept. 19, 2014. The Hockey Hall of Famer is the Avalanche/Nordiques leader in games (1,378), goals (625) assists (1,016) and points (1,641) and played his entire 20-season NHL career for the franchise. He won the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001 and was captain for 17 seasons (1990-91, 1992-2009).


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