These Right Wings make up "Mount Rushmore" for the Colorado Avalanche

Who are the best right wings in Colorado Avalanche history?
Edmonton Oilers v Colorado Avalanche
Edmonton Oilers v Colorado Avalanche / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages
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1.) Claude Lemieux

The final right wing on Mount Rushmore is a controversial figure from the early years of the Colorado Avalanche, but also an instrumental figure in teaching the team how to win and ultimately earning a Stanley Cup victory in 1996. The final spot goes to Claude Lemieux.

Lemieux came to Colorado from New Jersey (through the New York Islanders technically) after winning the Stanley Cup with the Devils in 1995. A savvy 30-year-old veteran with 13 years of experience, he won the Conn Smythe trophy as the NHL playoff MVP the year prior.

Lemiux was just what the Avalanche needed to get to the next level. He gave the team an attitude that permeated throughout the roster. His play also spoke for him, as he scored 39 goals in 1995-96. He added 32 assists for 71 points across 79 games that season. Most famously known for his grit and ability to agitate opponents, Lemieux had 117 penalty minutes that season.

Lemieux continued his stellar play during the playoffs, scoring 12 points across 19 games. He added 55 penalty minutes during the run to the Cup. In the 1996-97 season, Lemieux led the NHL in goals during the playoffs, scoring 13 in 17 games. The Avs were eliminated by the hated Detroit Red Wings in the conference finals that season.

Aside from his prowess as a hockey player, Lemieux may best be known for his time in Colorado by one incident- the Kris Draper hit. Lemieux checked Draper from behind, knocking him face first into the bench door during game six of the 1996 conference finals. Draper required stitches and obtained broken bones because of the hit.

For fans of the physical style of play, this hit set off a bitter rivalry that spanned the rest of the 1990s between the Avalanche and the Red Wings with the two teams meeting constantly as conference rivals.

Lemieux was a controversial player, but he knew how to win. Without his help the Avalanche would not have lifted their first Stanley Cup. For those attributes, he earns his spot on Mount Rushmore.