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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1.) Cody McLeod

The final spot on Mount Rushmore for left wingers was a difficult one to choose from. Sure, there are a ton of left wingers who’ve donned the burgundy and blue, but not nearly as many that have made a major impact like a player on Mount Rushmore would.

In a potentially controversial decision, Cody McLeod rounds out the Mount Rushmore of left wingers.

McLeod wasn’t an offensive player. Anyone who knows him knows he earned the respect of his peers and fans alike for his unwavering willingness to defend teammates and play good, physical hockey.

McLeod played ten years in Colorado and 659 games as a member of the Avalanche, good for tenth all-time for the franchise. It’s not often that a “tough guy” gets ten years in an organization, but McLeod was a good enough player aside from his prowess engaging in fisticuffs to hang around the team.

He had 66 goals and 51 assists over his Avalanche career, but his major impact came in the form of roles we already touched on to the tune of 1359 penalty minutes in his Colorado career. A check of McLeod’s fight record shows 129 majors for fighting over his Avalanche career, averaging almost 13 per season. He had 20 fighting majors his rookie season alone!

McLeod had over 100 penalty minutes each season of his Colorado tenure, with only the strike shortened 2012-13 season under 100. He had 83 PIM’s that season in just 48 games.

McLeod was also able to change his game. As the strike changed the game from a less holding and grabbing type into a more free-flowing type game, the role of the fighter changed. Gone were the days of a player who could barely skate and was only an enforcer, and those players had to transform into all around players.

Directly after that season, McLeod had over 230 hits in two of his next three seasons, mutating from a fighter into a fourth line grinder, physical type player. His offensive production increased as well, scoring seven or more goals twice in the next three seasons also.