The number 8 was retired by the Nordiques following Marc Tardif’s 9 year stint with the franchise but activated once again when the Avalanche were born.
Ozo was acquired from the Sharks early in the Avs first season for Owen Nolan. This was a piece that the Avs really needed, the defense was solid and Uwe Krupp could score but bringing an offensive force like Ozolinsh made a big difference. Offensive defensemen are usually thought of as scooter types but he played like Tyson Barrie at Erik Johnson’s size, plus he was mean. It was remarkable.
Ozolinsh went on to score 13 goals and 50 points in that first season along with 19 points in 22 playoff games en route to the Stanley Cup. He stayed until 2000 when he was traded to Carolina for current Avs D coach Nolan Pratt and bunch of 1st and 2nd rounders. He finished his Colorado career with 72 goals and 253 points in 333 games and 63 points in 80 playoff games.
Selanne’s ill-fated 2003-04 stop in Colorado was one that he and most Avs fans would like to forget. The career point per game winger managed just 17 goals and 17 assists in 78 games thanks to a knee injury that plagued him all year. After the lockout he returned to Anaheim and promptly put up two 90 point seasons in a row. Nice.
Wolski was selected by the Avs with the 21st pick in the 2004 draft and turned pro at the end of the 05-06 season, scoring 6 points (all but 1 on the PP) in 9 games. He lasted until the deadline in 2010 when he was traded to Phoenix for Peter Mueller and Kevin Porter. Despite his reputation for floating in the d-zone he managed 73 goals and 193 points in 302 games in burgundy.
Shatty was a great hope on the blueline when he was drafted in the 1st round in 2007. He spent 3 years at BU then turned pro late in 2010 with Lake Erie. Just 46 games into his Avs career he was traded to St Louis with Chris Stewart in the Erik Johnson trade. He had 7 goals and 26 points for Colorado and may have been a good indicator that something was amiss in the Avs minor league program because he had a grand total of 2 assists in 13 games for the Monsters.
Big Jan was signed to a 4 year deal as a free agent on Canada Day 2011. Despite being a defensive defenseman he was incredibly durable and only missed 8 games for the Avs over his tenure. Some people groused about his lack of speed and 0.21 points per game on the top pairing but I loved the guy. Off ice he had a hilariously dry wit and on the ice he was about the only thing you could depend on from the Avs blueline.
Skille signed after a try-out in training camp 2015. The former Blackhawks 1st rounder was quick and had decent skills for a 4th liner. He had 8 goals and 14 points for the Avs before moving on to Vancouver.
Colborne scored a hat-trick in his Avs debut after signing a 2-year free agent deal in 2016. From there it went downhill fast. He endured the season from hell as a semi-regular healthy scratch then got cut after 2017 training camp. He played a few games for the Rampage then disappeared. Final tally: A hat trick then 5 points in 61 more games.
For me this is a toughie, Ozo and Hejda are two players I much admire and then you have Selanne as a Hall-of-Famer even though he didn’t look like one for the Avs. What’s your take? Who wore it best?