The Colorado Avalanche have had three players wear #59 over the team’s eighteen year history. Here are their stories.
Brian White: D 1998-1999, 2GP 0-0-0, 0PIM
White was Tampa’s last pick in the 1994 draft (10th round #268). He opted to continue at the University of Maine and then signed with Colorado to a three-year contract. Initially assigned to the Bears of Hershey, Pennsylvania, Brian got his call to join the Avalanche in Montreal on November 21st. According to NHL.com, he played one two-second shift. White next traveled with the team to Edmonton and there assisted the Avs for two shifts.
The Avs sent him back to the Hershey Bears for the remainder of his contract. White obtained brief contracts with Anaheim and Boston but did not again see time at the NHL level.
Philippe Dupuis: C 2008-2009 (#59), 2009-2011 (#11), 86GP 6-12-18, 46PIM
Originally the 4th round pick in 2003 by Columbus, Dupuis came to Colorado via trade in 2008. He started out with #59 but switched to #11 as soon as it came available. In his first season with the Avs, Philippe only saw limited action in eight games. His only stats for the effort are four penalty minutes and a +/- of -1.
By the 2010-11 season, Dupuis improved considerably playing the entire season in Denver and helping out with nearly twenty points. He had become a fan favorite centering the 3rd and 4th lines. He got significant penalty-kill time and even scored a short-handed marker.
By now an unrestricted free agent, Dupuis leveraged that season into a two-year contract with the Maple Leafs. However, after thirty scoreless games, Toronto placed him on waivers. Finishing up the year with the Marlies, Philippe signed with Pittsburgh but did not skate with the parent club. Leaving the NHL, he finished out his professional career with five decent seasons in Germany.
Brandon Yip: RW 2009-2010 (#59), 2010-2012 (#18), 119GP, 25-20-45, 90PIM
Yip began his Avalanche career sporting the 59 but changed as soon as something lower became available. He entered the organization as Colorado’s last pick – 8th rnd, #239 – in the 2004 draft. After finishing his studies at Boston University, Brandon was set to start with the Avalanche but a broken hand in a pre-season game held him out of the line-up until mid December. He ended his rookie season having played in 38 games and scoring 23 points (13 goals and 10 assists). His .6 pts/game led all rookies in the NHL that year.
That season would turn out to be the high point of Yip’s career. Some blame his declining fortunes on his choice of jersey number, claiming that #18 is somehow cursed. Whatever the reason, and in spite of staying healthy, Brandon’s pts/game dropped to .3, only contributing twenty-two points over the course of seventy-one games. After going completely scoreless in ten games to start the 2011 season, the Colorado placed him on waivers.
Nashville gave Yip a chance at a fresh start and he appeared to take the opportunity to heart. He scored three goals in his first six games with the Predators but finished out the season with only nine points in thirty-five games. His second season in Nashville continued the trend of starting hot and coasting for the rest of the season. Predictably, the Predators did not renew his contract.
Signing with Phoenix for the 2013-14 season, Yip didn’t even make the roster and was assigned to the AHL. He received a two-game call-up in which he went scoreless. Brandon played an additional season in the AHL – including a seven game stint with the Utah Grizzlies – before jumping over to Europe. He played two seasons in the German league and the 2017-18 year in China with the KHL.
And that concludes our (cautionary?) tale of #59. Is there a moral to be learned here; would Dupuis and Yip had continued their success if they had only kept that number? You make the call.[qsm quiz=87]