About half the way through the count of Avalanche players their respective jersey numbers, the field thins out. For some reason, the higher numbers aren’t nearly in demand as those on the lower end. In fact neither of our featured players kept 50 and opted for a lower number later in their tenures.
Two men enter to contend for the WWIB #50 title but only one can win. Who will it be?
Brian Willsie: RW 1999-2003 (#50), 2008-2010 (#18), 125GP, 9-12-21, 47PIM
Willsie began with the Avalanche as a 6th round pick in the ’96 draft (146th). (why didn’t he choose a number involving a “6”?) After finishing up in the OHL, Colorado assigned Brian to the Hershey Bearsin 1998. His first chance with the big dance finally arrived in a call-up against Chicago on January 9, 2000.
What with yo-yoing between Denver, CO and Hershey, PA, Willsie got seventy-nine games in with the Avs as #50. Over that span he produced eight goals and nine assists. The Washington Capitals claimed Willsie off of waivers for the start of the 2003 season.
All-in-all, even with mediocre stats, Willsie spent more than two decades in the professional hockey ranks. Mostly in the AHL level, but his play was solid enough to have been brought back in subsequent season by both the Caps and the Avs. After three seasons in Europe, Brian changed his focus to player development and returned again to the Colorado Avalanche in 2016.
Derek Peltier: D 2008-2009 (#50), 2009-2010 (#6) 14GP 0-0-0, 2PIM
Peltier enters the club as Colorado’s sixth round pick (184th) in the 2004 draft. After graduating from the U of Minny, Derek joined the Lake Eire Monsters for the 2007-2008 season. His first Avalanche action came in 2009, fittingly, against the Wild of Minnesota.
A change in number didn’t affect Peltier’s fortunes in 2009. He got three more lack-luster chances before being sent back to Cleveland. The Avs did not renew his contract. Derek played the following season with the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen, gaining a contract as a professional try-out. Failing to make the AHL again in 2011, he played two more seasons in the German professional league.
In what could be considered a significant number in-and-of itself, the #50 doesn’t appear to hold much fascination for players of the Colorado Avalanche.
Now it’s your turn, Burgundy Rainbow Readers, of these two options, Who Wore It Best?[qsm quiz=83]