When the Quebec Nordiques moved to Denver, Colorado in 1995 to become the Colorado Avalanche, they became one of the best teams in the NHL for the next 10 seasons.
For those 10 years they won two Stanley Cup titles and were in the playoffs every season during that run. Since then its been an up-and-down ride for this franchise, but their fortunes have finally turned in their favor.
This was a dominant run by the Avalanche as they swept two Western Conference opponents on their way to the final. The trio of Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan McKinnon and Mikko Rantanen were as dynamic as ever and the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning had no answer. Nazem Kadri made his return in Game 4 of the series and scored the game-winner in overtime. Valeri Nichushkin kept scoring goals almost at will. Mid-season acquisition Artturi Lehkonen was an important piece down the stretch and scored the game-winning goal to end the series with Colorado hoisting the cup.
But the one player that played at an elite level above all else was Cale Makar. The Norris Trophy winner also won the Conn Smythe trophy as the playoff MVP for the Avalanche. He is widely considered the best all-around defenseman in the league and will be for the next 10-15 years.
Darcy Kuemper proved to all of his doubters that he can help and at times lead a team to a championship. This was the big offseason acquisition and it paid off for Colorado.
There will be some roster turnover, but the core is getting into the prime of their careers. They were one of the most talented rosters in the league for the past four seasons and they finally cinched that praise with a Stanley Cup.
Congratulations to the 2022 Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche on winning their 3rd Stanley Cup title in franchise history.