When it comes to Colorado Avalanche jersey #16 the options are not plentiful, but their contributions have been enough to warrant a little competition for the Who Wore It Best series. For me though, there is only one correct answer. Read along and see if you agree?
Of note: The Avalanche have not had a home grown player wear jersey #16 and go on to have a long and successful career with the Avs. If you’re an Avs prospect and your asked to wear number 16…maybe start working on your CV.
Steady Jay McClement came over to the Avs as a throw in from the deal that sent Chris Stewart, Kevin Shattenkirk, and the pick that became Ty Rattie to the Blues in exchange for Erik Johnson, McClement, and the pick that became Duncan Siemens. In a 104 games with the Avs McClement potted 11 goals to go along with 10 assists while usually centering the 3rd or 4th lines. His best asset was that he was a reliable veteran to a young team hoping to emerge to stardom. Beyond that he was strong in the face off dot and reliable defensively. His most notable contribution is that he was a part of the trade that brought the Avs their defensive rock/stalwart Erik Johnson.
Sarchy was acquired by the Avs in a deal that saw the return of Avs legend Alex Tanguay. Going the other way David Jones finally cleared his locker at the Pepsi Center along with maligned defender Shane O’Brien. Sarich was brought in to be veteran presence on a blue line that was desperately seeking some stability. For the first ¾ of the season he did just that. In 54 games that year he netted one goal and 9 assists before age and injuries started to catch up to the blueliner. Of the many veteran defensemen that the organization has tried to bring in over the recent years Sarich’s contributions were among the best. His most noticeable contribution off the ice was that his acquisition signified a culture change within the Avs locker room away from the Vegas mentality noted by JS Giguere and towards more workman like mentality.
Big Z, unlike his other jersey number compatriots was not an add on in a trade seeking to bring a talented player to the Avs. Big Z was the centerpiece of a trade that was shipping out a young star from the Avs who was seeking greener (see what I did there?!?!) pastures. Zadorov came to Colorado in the deal that sent Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn to Buffalo in exchange for Zadorov, JT Compher, Mikhail Grigorenko, and a draft pick that later became: AJ Greer, Cam Morrison, and Denis Smirnov. Any time a player of the magnitude and character or Ryan O’Reilly is being shipped out for prospects, you have to hope that at least one of those guys becomes a full time NHL player. Big Z has shouldered that load and then some. He got off to a slow start in the scoring department but his contributions on the defensive end have not gone unnoticed. Last season Z broke out with a performance that saw him net 7 goals and another 13 assists. In addition to a career high 20 points, he also chipped in with a league leading 278 hits, over 100 blocked shots, all the while munching up minutes to the tune of over 19 per game. He still needs to grow a bit in his awareness around the net, but Big Z should be a staple on the Avs blue line for years to come.[qsm quiz=52]