Up until 1995, the Colorado Avalanche were known as the Quebec Nordiques. The Quebec Nordiques were considered one of the worst teams in the NHL due to their performance in the league from 1987 to 1992. While their performance increased on the ice in the years after being given the rights to three first-round consecutive draft picks, they began to struggle financially. Ultimately the team was bought out in 1995 by a group of investors located in Denver, and the Quebec Nordiques became the Colorado Avalanche. Amidst the stress of the move and the complete overhaul the franchise management saw, the team was off to a successful first season as the Colorado Avalanche with 13 year captain Joe Sakic at the helm. They have won a total of 8 divison titles, 2 conference championships and 2 Stanley Cups. Most recently, the team has suffered from a servere lack of leadership in management, as well as the coaching department. That along with the injuries that plagued the entire roster for the duration of the 08-09 season resulted in the team finishing 3rd to last in the league and acquiring the 3rd overall 09-10 season draft pick, Matt Duchene. As a testament to franchise's high standard of play over the years, Matt Duchene is the highest draft pick the Colorado Avalanche have had since 1995, the first year the franchise moved to Denver from Quebec. After some rather significant changes in Management personnel, the team roster was also changed dramatically during the 09-10 off-season, with the focus being to rebuild with young, and talented youth. After a lackluster 2010-2011 season, Colorado selected Gabriel Landeskog at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft with the second overall pick, their highest selection in franchise history. Landeskog went on to have a very memorable rookie season, leading the team in goals with 22 and scoring 52 points, also playing all 82 games of the season. He was unanimously praised for his veteran play, registering 270 shots on goal and 219 hits, both Avalanche rookie records. He was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year at the 2012 NHL Awards, the first Avalanche player to win the award since Chris Drury won it in 1999.
At the age of 39, Joe Sakic is considered to be the heart and soul of the Colorado Avalanche by many fans and many people involved with the league. Totalling 20 years with the Quebec Nordiques and Colorado Avalanche combined, he has brought a team once thought to be the worst in the league to being one of the most feared. He is also regarded as one of the classiest players in the league, as well as one of the best captains to ever play the game. He's placed among the top 15 players in 9 over-all stats, and 7 post-season stats including 1st place in Regular Season points in active players, 1st place in All-Star game assists and 3rd place in All-Star game points. He has won numerous awards in the NHL, WHL, CHL and internationally. Some of these include the Conn Smyth trophy, the Hart Memorial Trophy, the NHL All-Star game MVP, and Olympic Ice Hockey Tournament MVP. Joe announced his retirement to the NHL on July 9th, 2009. His jersey number 19 was retired at the Pepsi Center on October 1st, 2009.
In his first year of eligibility, Sakic was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame on June 26th, 2012.