Mount Rushmore of the Colorado Avalanche: Left Wing

Chicago Blackhawks v Colorado Avalanche
Chicago Blackhawks v Colorado Avalanche / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages
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2.) Valeri Kamensky

Many of you may not remember Valeri Kamensky, but you should. For those that don’t, Kamensky was a Soviet Union born left winger, drafted in the seventh round by the Quebec Nordiques in 1988. Prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, a lot of quality Russian players were drafted in the later rounds because of questions about their ability to physically play in the NHL—they were obviously very talented.

The 6’2”, 198lb winger eased into the NHL in the 1991-92 season in Quebec, but his career really began to blossom when the Nordiques moved to Colorado and became the Avalanche. His lowest point total over four seasons in Colorado was 44, at least 22 points lower than the other three seasons there. Kamensky had his best season in 1995-96, scoring 85 points in 81 games, with 38 goals and 47 assists. Kamensky also scored 18 power play goals that season. He continued that torrid play in the playoffs, averaging one point per game, with ten goals and 12 assists for 22 points in 22 games. The Avalanche won their first Stanley Cup that season.

The next season, Kamensky was even better in the playoffs. Across 17 games, he scored 22 points, averaging more than one point per game. His regular season wasn’t as good as the previous season, scoring 66 points in only 68 games. For a fun fact, Kamensky had six career hat tricks, all of them with Colorado.

Kamensky was a vital part in the early success once the Nordiques moved to Colorado. His offensive skill helped set him apart and provide opposing teams with another player to gameplan for, taking some heat off Joe Sakic and others. For those reasons, he makes Mount Rushmore.