2 former Colorado Avalanche players in the Stanley Cup Final

Evan Rodrigues and Calvin Pickard make up the former Colorado Avalanche players who are still fighting for a Stanley Cup this postseason.
New York Rangers v Florida Panthers - Game Six
New York Rangers v Florida Panthers - Game Six / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The Colorado Avalanche were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs in the second round against the Dallas Stars. That’s already been close to three weeks ago. It’s been an up and down, bumpy road since the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in the 2021-22 season. As it usually goes in sports, once you win the championship, free agents often head elsewhere to get paid.

That was the case for one of the two players that will be talked about today. Evan Rodrigues came over as a free agent to the Colorado Avalanche from the Pittsburgh Penguins. He spent three years in Pittsburgh after his first five years in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres.

Fans were clamouring for the Avalanche to sign Rodrigues for a while in 2022-23. A year removed from their latest championship win, Colorado was looking for some offensive help, especially given the uncertainty of Gabriel Landeskog’s status.

Looking back, the Avalanche could have re-signed Rodrigues, but it is tough when you are fighting for a championship. You are in that window of glory and have to make some tough decisions. Instead, Colorado pushed hard at the 2023-24 NHL trade deadline to acquire some talent while shipping off Bowen Byram and Ryan Johansen, who has completed fallen apart in the NHL, for some reason.

Rodrigues played in 69 games for the Avalanche, and scored 16 goals and had 23 assists. It makes sense that we had hoped for a little bit more, given all the hype. However, the year before going to the Avalanche, Rodrigues had 19 goals and 24 assists in an entire 82 games, so in a way, his one year with Colorado was better offensively.

Rodrigues just missed out on championships with the Penguins—they won the Cup in back-to-back seasons in 2016 and 2017, while Rodrigues was there through 2019-21. Now he gets a chance to win with the Florida Panthers.

Goaltender Calvin Pickard was a second round pick in the 2010 draft by the Colorado Avalanche. He spent three years in Colorado, posting an overall record of 28-43-6, which was not great at all. That being said, the Avalanche were going through some rough patches, with Patrick Roy as head coach.

Now, however, Pickard is in a great spot to win a championship with the Edmonton Oilers. He’s not their starter, but he has had an important role with Edmonton, going 2-1 in three starts during the 2023-24 postseason. He has 59 saves and a .915 save percentage.

No matter who wins the Stanley Cup this year, it is guaranteed that a former member of the Colorado Avalanche will hoist the trophy. Congratulations to both teams, and both former Avs players who made it this far.