Sometimes, it’s possible for a career to be both disappointing and tremendously successful all at once.
Adam Deadmarsh is one of the rare few to fall into that category.
Picked 14th overall in 1993 by the then-Nordiques, Deadmarsh was your prototypical power forward: 6’0” and over 200lbs, hit like a freight train but with hands soft enough to be dangerous, going into the dirty areas, winning battles in front and along the wall. His willingness to stand up for teammates and do the dirty work made him a fan favorite.
His first year in Denver (second in the league), he nearly tripled his point totals from his rookie year (17 to 48) and contributed his first 20+ goal season. On a team of stars like Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, and Patrick Roy, Deadmarsh’s abilities were overlooked. More importantly than his regular season progression, “Deader” and his 17 playoff points were a huge help in guiding the Avalanche, in their first year of existence, to a Stanley Cup championship.
Speaking of that 1996 championship: Deadmarsh had his own little slice of history but not in the way you’d really hope for. Originally, his name was spelled “Deadmarch” on the Cup, but it was later corrected – the first time in history that had ever been done.
The following season, 1996/97, Deader looked as though he was on the verge of stardom. Hitting career-highs in goals (33) and points (60), he helped lead the Avalanche to the President’s Trophy as the team with the league’s best record. A repeat wasn’t in the cards, though, as the Avalanche had their rematch with Detroit, the eventual Stanley Cup champions.
Deadmarsh was becoming one of the most popular players in Colorado by this point. He had his own line of pickles – Deadmarsh Deli Dills – and a line of tie-dyed t-shirts with “Grateful Deadmarsh” emblazoned on the front.
Unfortunately for Deadmarsh, his crash-bang style of play was starting to catch up to him. Nagging injuries here and there began to dog him, limiting both his time on the ice over the next few years as well as his production. He would consistently hover around 20 goals and 40 points; nothing to scoff at but a far cry from his breakout third season.
Perhaps feeling as though Deadmarsh would never stay healthy enough to live up to his potential, not to mention wanting to make a push to win the Stanley Cup for Ray Bourque, the Avalanche would deal the popular winger in a pre-deadline blockbuster. Deadmarsh, Aaron Miller, Jared Aulin, and Colorado’s first round pick in 2001 went to Los Angeles for Steven Reinprecht and star defenseman Rob Blake.
Deadmarsh would have one more good season in him, hitting career-highs in points and assists for Los Angeles in 2001-02 before being devastated by concussions that would force him to officially at the age of 30.
During his six years in Colorado, Adam Deadmarsh pleased Avalanche faithful with plenty of goals, big hits, and his rough-and-tumble style. His contributions can’t be measured by looking at his stats, his impact can’t be felt by reading a Wikipedia entry.
To this day, Avalanche fans remember Deader and his contributions to the team. And that is why he is one of the greatest Colorado Avalanche of all-time.
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