Today, coming in at #17, has the second-shortest tenure on the list but one massive memorable moment while playing in the Mile High City. And though his time in Denver was short-lived, Uwe Krupp will be remembered by Avalanche fans for a long, long time.
Discovered by the great Scotty Bowman while playing for the German National Team, Krupp was selected with the 214thpick in the 1983 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. Krupp would spend five seasons honing his game in Western New York, his burgeoning offensive game slowly coming closer and closer to match his massive frame (6’6”, 235). He even made the 1991 NHL All-Star game, becoming the second German player (behind Walt Tkaczuk) to do so.
Just eight games into the 1991-92 season, he was involved in a blockbuster trade between the Sabres and the Islanders – the Isles sent Randy Hillier, Randy Wood, superstar center Pat Lafontaine, and a 1992 fourth round pick to the Sabres for Krupp, star center Pierre Turgeon, Dave McLlwain, and Benoit Hogue.
Krupp would spend three years on Long Island, establishing himself as one of the better Islander defensemen before he was again traded. This time, he was dealt to Quebec with the 12th pick in the 1994 Draft (Wade Belak) for Ron Sutter and the 9th pick in the 1994 Draft (Brett Lindros).
With the Nordiques relocating to Colorado for the 1995-96 season, Krupp would be apart of the inaugural season for the Avalanche.
What a season it was.
Despite playing in only six regular season games due to injury, Krupp had a big impact in the playoffs. He quietly had a very productive post-season, scoring four times and adding a dozen assist. But perhaps no goal Uwe Krupp ever scored would be as important as the one he scored in game four of the Stanley Cup Finals.
At 4:31 of the third overtime, with the Avalanche leading the series 3-0, Krupp got the puck at the right side of the blueline and…
From the NY Times:
Krupp said he took the puck after Colorado won the face-off. “I tried to get rid of it as quick as I could,” Krupp said. “I leaned into it.”
His triumph would create an excitement back home in Germany, bigger than any event since the West German national team won a bronze medal at the 1976 Olympic games.
Krupp would spend two more seasons in Denver, seeing his point totals and number of games played rise each year, his last year being the 1997-98 season. He was subsequently claimed by the Nashville Predators in the Expansion Draft before having his rights dealt toColorado’s arch-nemesis,Detroit.
Ironically enough, Krupp would be apart of the Wings Cup-winning 2001-02 team.
Uwe Krupp’s time in Denver was short-lived but impactful in every way. And though he battled injury during his time with the Avalanche, the effect he had on the team was felt in more ways than just his Cup-clinching triple-OT goal.
And that’s why Uwe Krupp is one of the all-time greatest Colorado Avalanche.
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